after Op. 28, No. 4

His hands are there—together with the fear
of having to begin again. He’s numb.
The fingernail has been ripped from his thumb,
like childhood or pelt from a breathing deer.

The sun slips out. Each grave chord drops its tear
gas in the room. Is this how souls become
bound to unhappiness and die? This drum
of rain replays a heart pressed to his ear.

My father knows Chopin. The keyboard sings
of bone, of dust, of hair as they are brushed
from someone’s face. It’s night; his eyes are shut.

The dog at his feet kicks in sleep. He brings
his hands to end the piece, a life. All’s hushed.
Anote rests in the silence it has cut.