blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



He Said Discipline is the Highest Form of Love

All three girls were in love with their music teacher. At a lesson, he told one: You wear your heart on your sleeve. Then the other came in, dark hair parted in the middle like a black book. She had the longest most promising fingers, but he did not love her. The third girl did not come until the next day. In the night she dreamed that he spread his arms out behind her and then wrapped his left arm to hers holding the instrument, and folded her fingers so they touched the strings. His right arm crooked with her arm holding the bow. They were just one violin.

Every time she practiced after that she felt his limbs on her limbs, his breast at her back, like a man-shadow cast by her small girl body. An hour would go by like an arrow. That's what was hardest: what love did to time. The Brahms fell apart like a glass. His shoulders over her shoulders. Even when she grew up, which happened in a night, and was happy, she could still conjure him, this love skin.
This whole petal of him.

When she came to her lesson the next day he tapped the lip of her music stand with a baton, tic-tic-tic, four-four time. She felt—a bit, a bit of his ankle in her ankle, and then the knee above that, floating. She wondered what he was like with the book-haired girl. She knew he loved those long fingers. Maybe that was enough. In time.  

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