Piano Fingers

“She has piano fingers-
long, skinny-
like the black keys.
She should take lessons.
Both of the girls should.”
Off to Mr. Placko
every Wednesday.

I sat.
Helen played,
learned to  read,
progressed to head nods.

I liked the rests the best,
played by
by memory,
by golly.

Mr. Placko, the ruler of the Steinway,
had a stern way with 12” of flatwood.
The stinging of knuckles supposedly sent nerve
responses to synapses which
controlled rote notes.

I hated Mr. Placko.
I liked his gingko tree though.
It was outside,
protected by borders
of city sidewalk.

—Marilyn Windau, Sheboygan Falls, WI