Saralee's Waltz

Saralee’s Waltz

Every morning she resumes her love affair

with the piano lounging on the sleeping rug

as the light slips in beyond the highest stair

one arthritic palm dangles mid air

the piano holds its breath as flesh meets key

skating along the surface to an internal melody

Fingers play hopscotch across the piano

rewinding jump ropes from a Cleveland house

ten siblings crowded one bathroom in 1929

twelve dollar piano paid in monthly installments

She got a scholarship to Julliard in World War Two

The only musician with long hair and eyelashes

Raised two daughters and a farm read Marx Hallelu

Jah to the god she never believed existed after all

Where was he when her brothers were black listed

Morning rises on Sixteenth Street fifty years later

Her eyes decode the piano’s DNA, see beyond it,

Forgets McCarthy, forgets McNamara,

Sees below the bass, exposes the music raw

Filleting it, splaying its flesh on ivory.

Her fingers bleed on the keys and

She grows younger with every chord.