A girl on the stairs listens to her father Beat up her mother. Doors bang. She comes down in her nightgown. The piano stands there in the dark Like a boy with an orchid. She plays what she can Then she turns the lamp on. Her mother's music is spread out On the floor like brochures. She hears her father Running through the leaves. The last black key She presses stays down, makes no sound Someone putting their tongue where their tooth had been.
From Steal Away: New and Selected Poems by C. D. Wright (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). Copyright © 1982 by C. D. Wright. Originally appeared in Translation of the Gospel Back Into Tongues: Poems, published by State University of New York Press, 1982. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.