Boy playing the cello

Boy playing the cello

for Stefano


The chair he sits on is two hundred years old;

It modulates like the voice of his grandfather


Welcoming him to sit on his lap.

He straightens his back holding the cello


As if they’re old friends. The two are about the same size.

This tree was chosen to make a different kind of music


From that of rain and wind that fell on its leaves,

Or from the dry wood-pecker knock, the scratching


Claws of squirrels up and down its bark, branches and twigs,

The song of cardinals, robins and blue jays darting back and forth.


The boy holds the cello in his arms. His eyes are full of music,

Dreamy with notes about to happen, and the bow lies near


Like a promise of a journey. When he begins to play,

I think the heart of the tree gladdens in the dry,


Sunny house, giving into memories that long for summer

Thunderstorms, dawn choruses, in a low, echoing sound.


The wood, transformed, returns to its essence,

As the boy brings the marvelous into the house.


(from Lilies from America, Shearsman Books, 2019)


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