Crisp, and tentatively,

the hours snap one after the other

like a file of tensed strings.

White song lifts from his fingers

skittering spider-like across the ivories

as the figurines shudder

to the resonance of certainty.

Flutter of eye, twitch of lip—

a finger trips on a misplaced key.

He cringes,

and each entranced corner

gasps like a child

when suddenly

the lights have went out.

But what note? How soft, now?

How stiff? What answer drifts

from across the room

where a chipped Virgin statuette

stares back with hushed rebuke?

He pounds at the keyboard,

and something moaned

like a loose, hollow chord.

Must have been the piano.

Must have been him.

Must have been both

as he stuck his eyes out

and the seconds throbbed

in an upsurging tempo,


Outside on the street,

his students might have heard it all,

all the things he would relentlessly deny:

One would look at the back of his hand

and remember it swell

with so much tolerance.

One would clap his hands vigorously

and shake his head.

One would but nod

and quickly walk away.

The piano, a solid, luminous shadow,

suddenly becomes a mirror of it all,

his face for one thing, a visage of weariness,

cheeks hollowed by a certain loneliness,

stern eyes like old fruit

stuffed on the sockets.

He bangs his head on the keyboard,

letting the cruel rhymes flit here and there.

But still an impossible faith

made him grope for a chord,

excruciating to complete

the aborted recital. Pain,

always his slow hum of redemption.

Teatro Tomasino's new production

The piano glints.

Flutter of eye, twitch of lip.

And so the strings keep on breaking

slowly, one by one.

And another press

may strike

his final,

echoing note

way all too sudden,

way all too soon.


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