Tempered Clavier

by Delilah Silberman

Now, to sing this lovely ballad, here
is me. If I could choose to be anything, I would be you
in the supermarket. Call me baby and I’ll slim
down. In my bed, you are colorless. You’re so beautiful,
you’re so blue. The things I hate the most about ballads
are: pianos. And I stopped playing piano.
My newer lover asked me to stop grinding my teeth and I said
no with blue-hot deviance. In Krakow, 1939, Joseph takes out his
dentures. I stopped at night to brush my teeth with
a knife. In bed you are turning pink, my mother’s favorite
color. On the grocery list there are: 2 cans of green peas &
Molly McButter Butter Flakes & an AK47. Crowded market, hello,
monsieur! I wish I had gone to Paris, but we could
hardly afford private school. I remember everyone
grinding in 6th grade, thinking that we might all marry each
other’s mothers. The dance floor was packed, and Joseph
never did get to leave Poland. I was lonely before I met you,
chose someone else over you that night, still gagged
in the bathroom with a candy gorge. If Karen Carpenter
had eaten Mama Cass’s sandwich, they would both be alive.
That’s a joke. I’ve eaten five sandwiches
and none and still love superstars. Will you pollute
my body before you throw it in the river? I would like
to be remembered as the biggest cause of rising
sea-levels. Would you make dinner out of my
sister-in-law? Would you make dinner for my sister? I am a crack-
ed head under a playground swing. I am forgetful of most
events that happened from ages 5 to 10. I call up dad.
I call up uncle. I ask for more time. The worst
would be if I was forced to relearn the white piano.
Curious, I return to the playground. Keep scraping
my knee and go blind on the sidewalk
when my head lands against it,
then looking up, I see the Milky Way.

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