Poem: At Becky’s Piano Recital

At Beck­y’s Piano Recital
–Carl Dennis

She screws her face up as she nears the hard parts,
Then beams with relief as she makes it through,
Just as she did lis­ten­ing on the edge of her chair
To the chil­dren who played before her,
Winc­ing and smil­ing for them
As if she does­n’t regard them as competitors
And is free of the need to be first
That vex­es many all their lives.
I hope she stays like this,
Her win­dows open on all sides to a breeze
Pun­gent with sea spray or mead­ow pollen.
Maybe her patience this morn­ing at the pond
Was anoth­er good sign,
The way she wait­ed for the frog to croak again
So she could find its hid­ing place and admire it.
There it was, in the reeds, to any casu­al passerby
Only a fist-sized speck­led stone.
All the way home she won­dered out loud
What kind of ene­mies a frog must have
To make it live so hid­den, so disguised.
What­ev­er ene­mies fol­low her when she’s grown,
What­ev­er wor­ry or anger dri­ves her at night from her room
To walk in the gut­sy rain past the town edge,
Her spir­it, after an hour, will do what it can
To be dis­tract­ed by the light of a farmhouse.
What are they doing up there so late,
She’ll won­der, then watch in her mind’s eye
As the fam­i­ly hud­dles in the kitchen
To wor­ry if the bank will be satisfied
This month with only half a payment,
If the let­ter from the wan­der­ing son
Real­ly means he’s com­ing home soon.
Even old age won’t cramp her
If she los­es her­self on her evening walk
In piano music drift­ing from a house
And imag­ines the upright in the parlor
And the girl work­ing up the same hard passages.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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