Ode to My Piano

by Lucia Galloway

 

Aristocrat

out of forests, savannahs,

semi-tropic jungles:

sunlight and rain

wove the grain

of your impeccable case.

An elephant’s honed instincts

congealed

in the finger pads

of your ivory-slippered

keys.

You stand,

a grove of stately trees.

 

Like opening an atlas,

I lift your heavy lid.

Inside the chamber

of your strings

the deep sonority

of a widening river,

that ancient bridge in Budapest

across the Danube.

What harmonies,

what silences

hide

in the spaces

between your keys?

 

You host

assemblies

of photographs

as if your surface

were a mantelpiece.

Though

coffee cups

goblets of wine

vases of cut flowers

must never rest here,

you have upright cousins

less meticulous.

The jazzy piano

in a New Orleans bar,

riffs wafting

like gumbo’s aroma

complex and fishy,

with bourbon

hinting its sweet, stringent

notes

and wisteria

round a wrought-iron balcony

overhanging

a dark street.

The ballet-school piano,

powder blue

in a Chelsea flat,

tired hammers and strings

tainted with sweat,

the worn-out toe-shoes,

the endless

pirouette.

 

Piano, sometimes

you are truly grand,

a flying elephant,

one ear

flapping.

I want to be

tucked up

in your curled trunk,

relieved of cynicism,

staving off terror

in the rugged comfort

of your well-seasoned hide.


 

L GallowayLucia Galloway’s poetry collections are Venus and Other Losses (Plain View) and Playing Outside (Finishing Line).  Recent work appears in Tar River Poetry, Comstock Review, Midwest Quarterly, Inlandia, and the anthologies Thirty Days (Tupelo) and Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque).  A top-prize winner in Rhyme Zone’s 2014-15 Poetry Contest for her poem “Open to the Elements,” Galloway also won the Quills Edge inaugural poetry chapbook competition for her manuscript The Garlic Peelers.  Her manuscripts have been finalists for Tupelo’s Snowbound Chapbook award and the Able Muse Book Prize.  She hosts Fourth Sundays, a reading series at the Claremont (California) Library.

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