A complete rewrite of a twenty year old poem.
She sits with her hands
twisting in her lap
like kittens in a basket.
Her voice is just as furry
when she says, “I swear to God,
I can hear a piano
coming through the wall.” I hear nothing,
but try to soothe her by saying,
“Yes, it’s next door, they really like ragtime,”
and she clarifies, “NO, I MEAN A REAL PIANO
IS COMING THROUGH THE REAL WALL!
THE WHOLE DAMN THING IS BREAKING
ALL THE WAY THROUGH!” I tell her she’s safe
and shake her noon pills from the sorter,
pour a glass of water.
She believes the walls exist
the same way I used to believe in God,
the same way she believes in the deadly piano.
I feel like I’m standing
watching a house burn
on the edge of a wilderness
as I rock her in my arms
amid the smell of smoke,
the soft meow she makes
in her sleep,
the faint sound of music
from somewhere else.