Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Piano Lessons II

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Outside, the mother sets fire
to broken-off caterpillar nests,
the father practicing a duet
with the daughter
near a window that opens to the lawn.

Fragments of music collect
like a water stain above their heads.

Again, he says quietly, the daughter
counting time against her teeth.

They stare straight ahead, as if driving
through a country they’ve seen so many times
they forget to look at it.

The caterpillars writhe under the pink
torso of dusk, and the mother stands
with a can of gasoline in her hand,
piano notes tangling with oily smoke
before thinning out over treetops,

and she lets them go like that, without
listening too hard, without trying
to piece them together.    

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