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“ Appassionata”

Restless, she indulges herself in honeysuckle
now swollen from summer’s long hours
one great sweet crescendo in the dusk.
She’s listening for undertones,
head bent down, hands still, short fingers
pointed together; she listens;
small white flame in the bluing air, and moans—

hour by hour, ache by ache,
in the sameness of her classroom,
she stands alert, ear cocked. She sniffs out
heads for hints of genius. She peers
deep into eyes, paws their dark depths hunting
for small delicacies. She coaxes
from grumbling hands the loveliest of notes,
tiny sweet morsels for her dogged ears.
They don’t understand her passion.
They only know she’s the bitch,
day in, day out, demanding musical tricks

—she rips the filter from a cigarette
tracks inside to play a Beethoven
sonata. Outside a baby cries. Intent,
she runs, ear first, to the window.
She listens for raw passion, feels for fire,
short fingers drum, drum, rabid in the air.
Untouched, plums ripen on the piano.

--Debra Vazquez