Looking down, my hands are young.

Little nails. Little fingers.

Skipping on the keys.

Smooth, dainty skin.

I am six.

From farther up I’m looking down at my hands upon the keys.

Bigger reach, longer nails. A little polish

Dancing on the keys.

Taut, youthful skin.

I am sixteen.

Looking down, my hands are shopworn.

They play the music that comes through me.

My fingers waltz on the keys now.

Drying, aging skin.

I am fifty.

My gaze descends to my hands resting on the keys.

As I lift and lower, music emerges,

But alas, my fingers lumber on the keys.

Misshapen knuckles; veins popping blue.

I am seventy.

I look down upon my hands.

My fingers hover and shake,

Taking dry aim at the keys.

Gnarled, twisted, useless hands

I am too old.

They wheel me over. I bend toward the piano.

I hit a few notes with tentative strokes, and

I cry out in frustration. Then I remember.

I remember and I weep for the lovely melodies

That still skip in my heart.

* * * * * *

 I am pushing toward the seventies decade, and I have this lovely video of my son and me playing a duet! This is one melody that will skip in my heart for a long time. 

Note: The poem appeared in the California Writers Club 100th Anniversary Anthology called West Winds Centennial, published in 2010. The California Writers Club is a 501 (c)3 organization that was founded in 1909(!) by honorary members Jack London, George Sterling, Joaquin Miller and Ina Coolbrith.

 

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