At 3 pm on Sunday Afternoons

May 18, 2008
By Shara Azad, East Greenbush, NY

At 3 pm on Sunday afternoons
I sit in Madam Scrinch’s bare studio,
playing “Auld Lang Syne” on the piano.

My wrists hurt from trying
too hard to “dance” my hands along the keys,
but I know my fingering is perfect
because I play the same song every week
as Madam Scrinch keeps vigil in the background

My back hurts since I strain
to sit up as straight as Nicole Kidman.
Her new movie is playing at the theatre; did you know?
I long to go to the 3:30 screening, but I can’t
as Madam Scrinch keeps vigil in the background.

My scalp hurts—my pigtails are too tight.
James from down the block used to yank them before
his father left for Iraq.
He doesn’t smile anymore, but I mustn’t think of that
as Madam Scrinch keeps vigil in the background.

Finishing the piece, I mumble my thanks and
rush outdoors.
She pulls a chair towards the window,
watching a lone plane fly across the sunset,
counting the days till New Year’s.

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