C. Ann Kodra
Apparition in D Minor
He just waltzed in one starry summer night,
slipping through the unlatched screen porch door,
and settled fingers on the ivory keys
to play a song we did not ask to hear.
He came blind drunk, our parents told us both,
which helped explain his strange, sweet-sour breath.
That fragrance hanging in the air was breath
sustaining song in late D-minor night
and lingering too long; then he was both
required to leave and told to close the door.
The sound of discord being harsh to hear,
dark chords were muted on the missing keys.
His fingers, long and slender human keys,
undid the locks that held piano breath
and made the notes too beautiful to hear.
They told us on that enigmatic night
why he’d been shown cold shoulder and the door,
for he was ignorant and sottish both.
I saw him lean and hungry and as both
a man and apparition at the keys:
his music danced me through a hidden door.
I was seven, and I held my breath
at such a visitation in the night,
at such unlikely tunes for us to hear!
His hair lay matted flat, and I could hear
glissandos in his eyes; I kept them both
in sharp regard throughout that fragile night.
The heavy August air retained the keys
of understanding how to use one’s breath
to send the music far beyond a door.
Years after he walked out our front porch door,
the summers brought back notes for us to hear,
and I would try to match them on my breath,
always falling short of knowing both
the tune he played upon the aging keys
and that which spilled out through the starry night.
The notes beyond the screen door left us both
with need to hear the mystery of the keys.
Our young, sweet breath was lost upon the night.
C. Ann Kodra is an independent editor in Knoxville, Tenn., and a contributing editor for New Millennium Writings. Her poetry has appeared in Opium, The Medulla Review, Cavalier Literary Couture, Roanoke Review, Common Ground Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Now & Then, MOTIF v1: Writing by Ear, MOTIF v3: All the Livelong Day, Prime Mincer, Yemassee, Memoir, RHINO and others.