“Resonance,” assemblage by Tom O’Hara, 2012. Used with permission.

by Joyce Sutphen

Somehow, it keeps itself in tune.
Each key remembers its name
and loves its neighbors—
black and white.

No matter how many times I pass
without touching, it doesn’t
refuse me when I finally lean over
and tell it where I’ve been.

My hands find the way slowly—
a few chords moving to
a hymn, a little ragtime,
and then the Minuet in G.

The hammers swing back
and hit the wires stretched between
the silver pegs—each note as long
as a pedal can hold it.

omega man

Joyce Sutphen grew up on a farm in Stearns County, Minnesota, and she teaches literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Her latest collection, First Words, is a “memoir in poems,” and was published in 2010; in March, 2012, House of Possibility, a letter press edition of poems, was published by Accordion Press. She is the second Minnesota Poet Laureate, succeeding Robert Bly.