SONNET FOR A BLUE SPINET
You broke the backs of three Russian men,
who bore you up narrow stairs on their curses.
Detuned, scarred, and irredeemably blue, for years
you caught dirt and detritus like a sink's drain trap.
A missing knob on your keycover gives the impression
of a tawdry wink, or sour leftward pucker. Neither anvil
nor drum, nonetheless you are percussive by nature,
turning blows into song. Your sound is built of grit
and scar and scratch, harmonics in your upper register
brawling like Kilkenny cats. I play what I can, enough
to give the impression of art, the sense memory of flight.
The prodigy Rudolph Ganz said, "It is not the piano's fault
it is a piano." It is not your fault that you are a piano,
who would have been a lake or stretch of sky.
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