The Blackbird Lessons

The blackbird song fell on the afternoon,
an assault not just the come-hither
of the April male or June’s border warning shots,
but merrily like a composition,
a Mozart firing himself to ever more grandiose
variations on a theme that was, after a time,
not even a theme, but the ghost of some whole
partly remembered. The blackbird stopped.
In silence came the second ghost,
a memory of the peeling upright
on the dining room’s threadbare Oriental,
the window bay framing a massive oak stump,
another oak already dying, my sister going
through scales painfully, then a little faster.

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