I Tried to Play a Song

I tried to play a song today
On an antique wooden piano;
I must admit,
I know not the first thing about how to do so,
But neither do I really know
How to be this mess of flesh and bone we call “human”,
Yet here I stand still,
So I figured I would give it a shot.

I placed myself on the small round seat
And began,
Tapping lightly at first
Gently stroking each key
Until I grew impatient
And began to pound my fingertips down upon the black and white bars,
Striking each one
With intensity
Like I was trying to expel the expected notes by force.

What came out
Was not a song at all,
A myriad of other instruments
Spilled into the air
The same as the grey steam that rises from the energy plant just down the street.

When all was said and done
Not a single note had risen from the tired old machine,
But strewn around like a rapt audience
Were violas and cellos
Trombones and pan flutes
French horns and bassinets
Victims and heirs both
The legacy of my seemingly innocuous act.

As I walked away
I heard a single note flitter out
And perch upon my eardrum
Before racing back in a shy retreat;
A child
Had picked up one of the many musical bodies
Lying in heaps surrounding the silent source of their spontaneous generation
And had begun to play it with a deftness that caused
A smile to grow upon my face
As I turned away
And kept walking.

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