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One body wrapped in the night

    Neon lights flicker in darkness

    It paints on his face—a rainbow

    The rock travels in the sky 

    Crashes into the clear glass exploding

    Loud like his father and just as violent


Two cats jump and run at the sound

    Their paws leave small circle prints

    On the pavement wet with rain 

    Decorated with shards—shining 

    Like the diamonds his mother wore

    The blaring alarm overpowers the sound of the night


Three minutes and thirteen seconds 

    Till they are here

    This is what it must feel to be on autopilot

    Jump through the hole

    Careful of the glass sticking out like teeth 

    Waiting to chew him up


Four steps until the leather of the seat 

    A finger hovers over the ivory

    A slight press—there is that sound

    His heart beats fast in his chest

    With need with fear

    He cannot breathe


Five fingers find the right keys

    The peace of the sound—just as he remembers

    Like when he played in the living room

    His mother would clap 

    Only a proud nod from his father

    It was more than anything else he ever gave 


Six nights the house was chaos

    With shouts and slaps and pleas and oh no please stop

    But one night 

    He would sit on the leather

    And for a few hours things would seem 

    A tiny bit quieter


Seven p.m. after dinner—when he faced the keys

    He could not see

    Did not have to see

    All that was wrong

    He could play and play pretend and pretend happy

    That peace was possible—close


Eight bars of the sound—all of it floods back

    Behind the keys he can hear

    Those shouts he used to try and block

    With a pillow pressed to his ears

    His fingers keep moving

    This feels like home

Nine times he thinks he will fuck it up

    But the sound flows all right

    Then there are tires on the drenched road 

    He can hear them behind him—approaching footsteps

    “Son, you need to get up from that piano.”

And there were only ten bars left to play

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