Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

When things get confusing in life,
when I’m sitting alone just wondering
what might have turned out differently
had the serpentine river of time run
an alternate course, that’s when I turn
to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2.
When a letter arrives in the mail saying
so-and-so longtime friend has passed away
and the funeral was day before yesterday
or that my application to such-and-such
has been declined, I turn to Rachmaninoff’s
Piano Concerto No. 2 and whole vistas
of what-might-have-been open up,
especially ones related to if I’d stuck
with piano lessons despite my short,
warty fingers, despite the white circles
on my palms where Dad used to stub out
his White Owls and Grenadiers at night,
perhaps because he’d been hate-listening
to Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2
and/or hate-reading a new WW2
book he’d discovered at the library,
his head full of tanks and frosty boots,
troops clomping down Polish side streets
where children huddle in gray wool
but no shoes, unstartled by the echoey
crack of executioners’ rifles a few blocks off.
We are the world, Dad. We are the children.

• • •
 

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