POETRY
Piano
Ally Malinenko

Photo by Celia Spenard-Ko on Unsplash

she hits the keys
with one finger
like she’s jabbing someone
in the shoulder
or chest during
a fight because they
refuse to listen

and then
soft like she’s
been up all night
having terrible dreams
about a man in her house
that will eat up her bones
she presses the pads
of her fingers against the keys
like they were your slumbering back
just to steady herself
in this wakefulness for just a moment

and then
harder again like a massage
like she can pet and coax out of that
brown box of strings
and hammers
all the words
her mouth
has never made.


Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry books The Wanting Bone, How To Be An American and Better Luck Next Year as well as the novel This Is Sarah.