by Marilyn Westfall

She is dusting her piano,
touching cloth to keys
that ring in tune,
the instrument maintained
so friends might play.

Choir director, organist,
for thirty years
she lived poor on music,
tutoring afternoons and evenings,
beginners, all ages.

Remember the meter.
Let’s count the beat.
Feel the rhythm in the bass.

Endless scales, bungled
waltzes, fingering tacky from sweat
in her breeze-cooled bungalow.

The clock ticked sharp
that morning when her heart
skipped, a faulty
metronome, louder, louder,
throbbing in her ears.

Motes flit in sun as she locks
the key guard, soothed
by silence and the sight of beds
where cactus bloom,
their flowers bright as candles.

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