Day 17 NaPoWriMo2017

A riff on the nocturne, with reference to Chopin’s Opus 9 No. 2. But any reference Chopin takes me straight back to my childhood.



Summer nights long ago. I was five.

The day’s heat finally waning, moths thwacking

against the screen door. The lamplight

closing us in was low. You played on from memory.


It was the summer after dad died.

You practiced for hour upon hour upon hour.

You did the etudes, moved on to Rachmaninoff,

and always Chopin, the piano god.


You were trying to figure out your future

furiously – be it in science, concert hall

or literature. All were not an option.

You were only fourteen after all.


But you knew that life was short,

could and did end abruptly.

You did have strong hands,

strong enough to play Chopin


who must have had abnormally large hands

judging by the hand span needed

for his compositions, our mother commented.

You were stretching yourself.


You made it into your future,

now lead the family as is the wont

of elder sisters. This is

the ancient pattern and just.


So you are nearly halfway to one hundred and forty

(As we traditionally birthday greet

in our family.)  Still practicing,

playing the church organ. But I, as the baby


Halfway to one hundred and twenty

well aware our father only made it

only halfway to ninety, we all know

that it can be Good night, God bless


anytime now. The stats bat against us.

Given how endings can be abrupt,

how hollowing. And absence

the pervading music that plays on

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