Piano Lesson

you touched the keyboard / tentatively with blind fingers, / ten newborn mice, hairless, / vulnerable

Poetry by Romana Iorga

You never learned to play the piano.
Had you done it, there would be 
something to write about in a poem, 
all those endless lessons having
converged into one—the very first.

How you sat down on the bench, 
the sun glinting through the shades, 
turning the maple wood bright red—
a seat of fire you were subjected to 
for eternity in some personal hell. 

How you touched the keyboard 
tentatively with blind fingers, 
ten newborn mice, hairless, 
vulnerable, eyelids shut tight 
against the light of the world.

How you held imaginary apples
in your downturned palms, thinking
of the bright-green orchard you were
kept out of that summer, tart moons
laughing at you from the branches.

How you played your first scale—
not that you knew what it meant, or if 
you were doing it right—the teacher’s
voice filling your bewildered head 
with terse, pregnant instructions.

Originally from Chisinau, Moldova, Romana Iorga lives in Switzerland. She is the author of two poetry collections in Romanian, “Poem of Arrival” and “Simple Hearing.” Her work in English has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Stoneboat, The Normal School, Cagibi, Washington Square Review, PANK, and others, as well as on her poetry blog at clayandbranches.com.