Sheet Music

July 30, 2010

Me too. I too switched to
the trumpet in fifth grade.
It made a lot of sense.
I rode a bike to school.
The trumpet case fit on the handlebars.
I could learn to play things like
The Flight of the Bumblebee and
When the Saints come Marching In.
My mother’s fave was Harry James
(and not Mr. Armstrong. Strange.)
Just listen to the sound a trumpet makes!
And so I left the sousaphone behind.

Too bad.

How could I know its acoustic world
echoed so deep—in waters that
went so far beyond the lake?
So far into the sea the whales could hear?

It could be like the wind Vermont stirs up,
come November, but in July, like an
old sheet blown off a clothes line, and then
the clothes line snaps, as both tensions
leave earth. Things do disappear, you know.
Both rot away, both are left behind.

I set a music stand up on the dock.
I serenade the lake all summer long.
I play the balls off Harry James.

But whales don’t come up through the rivers.
And come the end of August, Uncle Bill comes back
to close the camp and we go home,

that last sheet still flapping in the breeze,
the one I will never take down.


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