Artwork borrowed from Unsplash.com
I am here. I am here,
I, whose last hour
of rest is swept clean
by the rooster's crow.
Beside me, the smell of him,
the thrust of him has driven me
here to this edge of drudgery,
my reddened hands,
my calloused knees. What prayer
do I render on these knees,
scrubbing these floors? What am I
doing here in this house,
that smells of barnyard,
with this man, these children?
Where are my people, where is my life,
the dream of a life—gaiety, balls,
laughter, the party of expectations
and the prince come at last?
I rise and go into the living room
where no one goes. I pass my hand
along the polished ebony cover
lift it, push it back, expose
that exquisite geometry
of unmade music.
My fingers move in no rhythm
at all up and down the scale
into the sound-less tones of unplayed notes,
barely a touch, no sound, no sound at all,
as though I were not even standing here.
Middle C and beyond the semi-dark of this room,
lit by dawn-light slipping through
the long windows, silent like the room,
silent except, only, the rooster's call