Poetry Fiction Issue

Squeezebox

Hear the author read this poem

You stretched its bellows to the limit without ripping
the fabric. So what if you weren’t the guy on TV
who touched off tremolos by twitching his instrument
in time with Ed Sullivan’s handclaps.
You pumped yours like a concertina, tight
in your shoulder straps, pounding the keyboard.

You took lessons from Mr. Merino, who called
your accordion an “ax.” He taught you jazz
syncopations, scales you muffed, & once,
while he stood behind you fingering your ribs,
the rhythm of a man in love with boys.

So what if you weren’t the crush he imagined,
performing in pigeon piazzas
where tourists noshed on prosciutto.
Flawless from his tap shoes to his toupee,
as he played “Sorrento” & “Lady of Spain,”
he pressed black buttons, forming long-lost chords.

Presented by

James Reiss’s latest book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems (2003). He teaches at Miami University in Ohio.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In