Poem of the Day: ‘The Pianist Upstairs’ by Erica Funkhouser

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

The first stanza of Erica Funkhouser’s lyrical, contemplative poem “The Pianist Upstairs” feels right to conclude a week of violence and military action in the Middle East:

The world’s at war and he breaks into Brahms
tonight—an intermezzo one might hum
to lull a child or coax to life numb
nerves after a round of deafening bombs.

Read the full poem from our 2005 Fiction Issue here, and go here to discover more of Funkhouser’s verse.