Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Tuning Fork

She holds the tuning fork with thumb and finger,
glass of wine, glass of silence, two tines and a stem,

lifts it with a flair, eyes the color in the gap,
cracks it sharp on the table,

holds it so lightly, a living, sleeping thing,
gently dares to touch it to the wood.

The haunted wood hums an overtone,
calls the room to prayer,

calls the air to prayer.

She plucks the string. I cringe:
Wire aspiring for the pitch.

He doesn’t notice
her shoulders,
or if he does, he doesn’t
how they hunch, rigid,
like her arms. He only shouts

Your’re choking the neck!”
She exchanges the tension in her wrist
for a former slackness in her jaw. “Better.

Now again.”

It is Bach, and he loves his Bach.
Is is his daughter.

You’ve heard this song before.
You know how it ends --
how the perfect note can’t be pure again --
but a tune has to close once it begins. If

I do not complete the tune you’ll gasp for air,
your mouth, open and shut, open and shut,

spitting: No! No! No! No! Like this! Like this!
Your fist will shatter the glass on the table.

As far as I know he never hit her.

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