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Tickling the ivories

Published in RiverCraft (Spring 2005).

Stroke its leg, feel that
thang up. Caress its sticky wooden
keys until it trills its high C plucking
its strings uncontrollably.

Produce that delicious
music of bell curve dynamics.
Press firm with strong fingers,
how wide can you span? Surrender
your gut to ostinato overtones.

Match its pulsing breaths
that heave rhythms from within, rub
your toes along its belly ‘til it
groans with warping tones
racin’ with the metronome, get
to know intimately how each
touch makes it feel.

Grind and grind, use those
hidden muscles ‘til it spasms, jerks
and twists and shouts, hollerin’ at its
rooftop. Suspend a note and watch
it shake for more. Hold the pedal
down, let it shake to a stop, smooth
out–and with a tender kiss, close
the piano lid.

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