Poetry Fiction 2008

The Piano Tuner

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says wolf tones on stringed instruments howl
in resonance, like spaces between leptons and quarks,

interstitial loops from which viruses and skyscrapers
are strung. Says a piano must be free

of wolf tones; there must be echoless pure empty space
in a C-sharp minor triad for moonlight to pour

through Beethoven’s sonata hammered out on strings
that tie us to our seats in recital halls.

Says there are at least twenty dimensions, not four
as we’ve been taught. In dreams, entering

the twelfth dimension, says he hears larks
and libraries warbling a ditty he sings

before bed or upon rising at dawn, tuned
to his pulse’s link with Pythagoras and the stars.

James Reiss's novel, Façade for a Penny Arcade, will be published in November. He is professor emeritus of English at Miami University in Ohio.
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