A Yamaha upright piano hides
in the middle of Old Downtown,
invisible, decaying inside boxy streets
with frame moats of cobblestone.

Streets, hidden somewhere I can’t
clearly see, only night, orange lamps,
somewhere behind a warped wooden
fence, taller than me, not taller than you.

We grasp the top splinters, my foot
on a faucet hanging from the wall,
and when we land on the other side,
in the darkness is the piano surrounded

by thin white cedars, covered with sand
and Spanish moss but you don’t care.
Your fingers tap the muted keys the way
your fingers tap out the tamper from

the espresso machine, grounds caught
in our fingernails, sweet earth scent stuck
to hair. Don’t say it, but wish the piano
will play as loud as the lines in your palms,

your palms are hauling the ghost out
of the abandoned keyboard, weight
too much for us, but this isn’t a whale’s
story (or maybe it is…) There are so many

wonders you’re not born with: conical burrs
for the best cup of coffee, not born
with a spine, no light to find the secret
piano moaning names of lost figureheads.


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