[from Lola Haskins's Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems, 2004]
For Someone Considering Death
I told you.
Life is one big Hanon
up and down the piano,
ten fingers skipping over each other
in every conceivable way,
two hands getting stronger.
the notes are the same for everyone,
but you can choose to whisper or shout,
to fade or grow.
And haven't you noticed that some people's hands sing,
but others are Midwestern on the keys,
each crescendo a secretarial swell.
Think about this.
How can you dream to play the Pathetique,
how can the moment come to truly look
into someone's eyes
and say,The hell with everything, I love you,
when you haven't done your time,
hour after hour, year after year
in that small closed room.
Desire Lines: New and Selected Poems (American Poets Continuum)