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.
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.