The Piano Player
Walking in from
the barn, I see him,
his fingers moving over the keys. He touches
sound, places it in my hands. I carry
it from room to room, filling cracks.
Later, I bake apples from the tree
he overpruned last year. They are large
and sweet. He goes outside
to adjust sawblades and carry heavy things.
A note follows him. I swallow it whole.
and still she gathers yarrow. Already
the shed is filled, stems and leaves hanging from timbers
weighted down with her need. I watch from the window.
She peels the bark of the strawberry tree, thin sheets
prayers in her arms. She will bury her grief
in the belly of those red trees, their coppice shoots birthing
over, and over again. She bribes the ravens with burnished nuts,
wishing them white and gone back to Avalon.
I know she will
place yarrow leaves over his eyes,
will smudge the dried sprigs around his room, breathe
the last of his own breath. I watch her gathering
what is left of winter, what is left of what she knows.
Sandy Martin lives in BC on a small island in the Salish Sea between Vancouver and
Vancouver Island. She shares her life with her husband, an everchanging number
of dogs and two donkeys. She has worked in creative nonfiction, short stories
and, her first love, poetry. Sandy is currently working on her first novel.