A children’s recital.
Taking turns at the piano.
A matronly instructor standing over each child.
A thin milling of parents half-seated in the front room
of a modest house.
With a doorbell that lights up after dark.
Listening half-attentively while the children
strike each note in noticeable fear.
A table of cookies and refreshments just feet away.
A tower of overturned plastic cups awaiting false thirst.
The hands need something to do when they are not clapping.
Then it is home to bed.
A school night for each of our dear little Mozarts.
The matron instructor closing the lid on her piano.
Cleaning up bunched napkins of cookie crumbs
and partially filled cups.
There will be no more music.
A sudden creaking of stairs under the weight.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan