overview published poems unpublished poems

The Music Room

This is where I know my father to be,
in this small brown room with makeshift shelves.
This is where he has invited me
as far back as I can remember
into this room, where music swells.
Like a mother placing warm
bits of food on a daughter's tongue
to help her discern cumin from thyme,
he plays me tastes of Mozart or Bach
asks, do I hear that legato?
or the third movement rise?
And every time, I nod, listen close,
for I have come into the holy place
and my conversion must seem real.
I have never told him
that which has entered his blood
has not entered mine.
It is others, Sondheim and Kern
Kater and Jarrett
that make my veins sing.
But perhaps he knows this by now
though neither of us speak of it.
An illusion of a thing shared
is a shared thing, nonetheless.
And so, when he calls me again
into that small brown room
I will go,
listen carefully, nod,
and watch the music swell
in my father's eyes.

[Published in The Lucid Stone, Summer 1998]