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Piano bench, a poem by Eric Chiles

Piano bench

The only music we ever heard
was the symphony of voices during
Sunday family pasta dinners, clinking
dishes in the sink, cabinet doors slapping shut.

So, the piano and bench posed a question
for years in the living room. Who sat
there to play? Instead, they got piled
with books, picture frames, flower vases.

It wasn't until the old lady passed
and her grandson hauled both of them
away that the piano bench divulged
its secret—scores of music she once played.

Long ago in the dusty past her fingers
danced waltzes on the keys. Her smile
lingered in the pages at odds with the dour
duty of feeding husband and family.

There was a different gaiety once in that house,
not that there wasn't laughter all those Sundays,
but something she enjoyed enough to learn
was stored away and forgotten in that bench.

Until it was moved, the lid flopping open
in the bed of the truck, and the wind picking
up the yellowed sheet music, scattering it across
the lawn, golden leaves from the family tree.

Eric Chiles is a graduate of I.U. Bloomington. Recently his poetry has appeared in The Aurorean, Chiron Review, Canary, Main Street Rag, Rattle, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. His chapbook, "Caught in Between," is available from Desert Willow Press.