If you come to these ruins, you’ll find pianos left lid-less and gutted. They’ll remind you of canoes from bedtime stories—the ones in which women lay down and died—now empty and washed ashore.
A man who lives nearby will guide you to the ivory keys on their abandoned faces, promising to let you play them, but only if you bow down and allow his fingers to cross the bridge of your spine. And you’ll grant him this. Because it’s been so long since pianos were part bone. Since your body could spin a throat-less instrument’s silence into song.
When you get to your knees and bare your back, he’ll say he hasn’t felt a woman’s skin in years. But once he admits to taking each piano’s insides—the dampers, hitch pins and strings—down to the river’s shore and burying them one by one among the reeds, you’ll feel the banks eroding, the remnants freed from their graves. He’ll insist—his fingers hopeful over your skin—that your spine, too, has strings waiting for a current to come and untangle them from each notch locking them in place.
Anna Rose Welch
Anna Rose Welch received her MFA in poetry at Bowling Green State University. Her work has also appeared, or is forthcoming in Linebreak, Water~Stone Review, and Rufous City Review. She was recently named a finalist for the 2013 Crab Orchard Review Allison Joseph Poetry Award.
Photo credit: John Urban, “Scott’s Piano.” http://www.urbanphotoco.com/