Everyone played higher than each other.
Notes lithe as wires, tuning sharp
entanglements, preludes above the living
room air. Father, grandmother, great-aunt
Susannah, junior Tilman, weddings,
anniversaries, funerals. High C’s
turned themselves inside out, trapezes,
somersaults through some fly-by
stratosphere of their own. Lemon twists,
spangles, circus dust. Hands that streamline
the shore after the tide goes out, turn
sonatas for sandcastles. Holiday
after holiday, as the sun went down,
there they sat—in top hats, scarves,
and feathers around the dining room
table, shiny with fingers running
scales across the early evening crystals.
We washed and stacked dishes. So many
photographs along the mantel, so many silent
movies flickering over their edges into sound.