Under Pressure
As movers load the upright piano 
onto a dolly, a cloudy ring from 
my teacher’s ice water glass
recalls “Aragonaise,” from the opera 
Le Cid. I would have rather danced 
the ballet than played it. She
would have rather performed 
than taught. So, she would twist 
the tip of her yellow mechanical 
pencil and prescribe hours of 
practice. I advanced like rotting fruit. 
She wept bitterly like Chimène, 
who had once tattooed laugh and play
onto my eight-year-old knuckles 
and still allowed me to be who I was. 
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