Heart and Soul
I am upstairs, leaning into the upper drawer
Of my mother's bureau, rummaging through
Her jewelry, her combs, scuzzy lint brushes
And all the other things she has to keep:
Orphaned keys, old eyeglasses, Kennedy
Half dollars in tiny worn manila envelopes.
Thick scratched lens stare up at me from
Scuffed cat frames. Salvation Amy takes them.
I open the music box that plays
"Lara's Theme" from Doctor Zhivago
In a tinny key, watch the works evolve
Under a thin glass sheet, the gentle way
The blurring rotor fits the gears, the steel
Tines rippling in arpeggio, tilting open
The lid to find the catch in the silent hinges
That give when the lid is opened.
I can stop the song between two notes.
Downstairs, my older sisters are playing
"Heart and Soul" four‑handed and loud on the upright,
Shoulders bunched, kicking each other for room
To get a foot on a pedal, the whole house
Swaying absently to the counterpoint.
It will be years before I know the song has words.
Heart and soul I fell in love with you
Heart and soul the way a fool would doŚ
My sisters rarely make it to the end
Without stopping to argue over a missed note,
Or laughing hysterically after playing much too fast
Or too slow, or lurching at the same time
Into two different favorite pieces.
Meanwhile, "Lara" hangs in the air,
Unfinished and slight. The interrupted note
Takes on the weight of the last. When things
Are serene I open the lid again, and the final
Notes straggle out on weak wings.
Love leaves things like these in the path
Of those loved, the soft songs and the loud.