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Jan 2012
she’s only got one arm, but that doesn’t stop her
from playing the piano Tuesdays;
clever girl, she’s got a rig,
three extra pedals to hammer out lower chords,
right hand for the melody.

she thinks often, how convenient for her,
it was her right arm she’d kept,
else she’d have to reach across to play the treble
and that’d make it hardly worth it.

of course, there are some things
what she can’t play perfect, that 's always
frustrating, frustrating,
but it’s the sort of think you put up with
when you are one-armed
and play piano on Tuesdays.

today, as it happens, is Thursday,
a day when she usually (but does not always) dust the piano.

this Thursday she dusts,
though there is not a lot of dust
because she woke up yesterday thinking it was Thursday
and you know how it goes. still,
she runs her dusting wand across the top of the instrument,
over the keys and raises little clouds, to her satisfaction:
if the dust is in the air, then it’s not on the hammers, the cables,
no, only her fingers, five on the ivory.
depositing the duster in its appropriate space—
she is all about space
and all about appropriateness,
there is (she thinks) some of each
for everyone, even if they’re not symmetrical—
she sweeps her hand against its weight
then gasps.

against the familiar grain, cut across
the slickness of its heart-dark lacquer, she feels what was not there yesterday,

a fissure,

in the wood,

a crack.

disbelieving, she puts her eye to it, runs her second finger over, over,
a split down the middle
of the damper cover, wide as a split vein

and a millimeter deeper.
MacKenzie Turner
Written by
MacKenzie Turner
   Audrey Howitt and Bernadette
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