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You used to play

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Bach had gone missing,
hiding somewhere, keeping
company with Mendelssohn
and Chopin and Beethoven.
Digging through our towers
of music,
I searched for him
and instead found someone else.

Grieg,
in a worn-out blue book.
I hold it gently in my hands,
with the reverence that comes
from reverie.

I remember '
but only just, for I was young '
pulling myself up to the
battle worn and weary bench:
the one with the ratty upholstery,
yellowed padding peeking through.
I watched the dance,
under your fingers.

It was always that one
song.
This song, with
birdsong trills and sunset arpeggios
notes that tasted like stars,
phrases that felt like
moonlight,
melody that ushered in
the dark.

I knew that you
loved it.

It's been years
since that innocent time.
Now your nails are long
and white. Your fingers don't
sing of nightfall
anymore.

Here, in the present
I shuffle through the
tattered pages. Faithfully,
the book falls open
to the song of my memories,
the notes smiling at me,
like an old friend.

I put the book on the
stand, sit on the clean-cut bench,
black upholstery shining.

Tables turned.
Now it's me
who fills the room with
dusk.
Now it's you
who comes to listen
past glimmering in your
eyes.

You used to play.





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