by Andrea L. Alterman

My mother used to play the piano. I remembered that today watching
her hands as she sat in our living room, her crooked fingers outlined
through the backlit newspaper with its headlines of loss.

I miss the music of her hands, the over and over playing
of measures she tried to perfect, like teaspoons being leveled with the back
edge of a butter knife: proportions had to be right, timing was everything,
placement of that difficult fourth finger encouraging the rise of the pinky.

She practiced, and made me practice watching her patience
as it rose and fell on F sharp, or G above middle C to turn staccato
to legato, connect beginning to end and as we started to move our heads
together, I would put my smaller hand over hers.

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