The Lyric Poem Prize
Winter 2011
Melissa Slayton

The Pianist

Summer, and an elegy swirls from her
fingers. In the parlor, ivory
meets hand, and the wine glass hums off key.
Every key is a puddle his picture
drowns in. Shaded notes seem stern,
Amazonian streams lapsed brown
where beta swim. She will not drown.
So she plays on. Her wrists are firm,
melodic plots of berries, hyacinth.
She resurrects a monument for
his wrists, engraving notes upon the plinth,
the cornice, scrawling scales, and then the wind
picks up. It howls and slams the parlor door.
It beats the song she plays against her skin.
©2011 Melissa Slayton