Melissa Ahart


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.

Date of Birth: October 17, 1979
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Web Associate for The Academy of American Poets and Poets Out Loud at Fordham University
Publications: Blue Moon Review, Conspire, Eleven Bulls, 2River View

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