I have been practicing my scales all morning.
The music wanders around the house
into the room where my mother is ironing
into the kitchen
then out to the garden where the green tomato bugs
eat holes in the leaves
and back to my fingers
which are going five, six, seven. . . .
In another life
a woman would come for me
and take me out of the study and into the garden
and put me on her lap and say You may stay here
You may lie here and sleep or watch the circus clouds
and she would come for me anytime! anytime I wished.
I have been practicing my scales all morning.
If I do not improve the keys will bite me
and the thinnest wire wrap around my neck
and the music will roll its heavy tires
across my body.
My father owns this piano
but at night a huge shadow crouches in the corner
and I cannot sleep.
—Lynne McMahon