Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Piano

No one knows when my wife plays the piano
that it’s the upright I stole from my boss,
the torn, yellowed leather side panels
(now totally resurfaced)
that once looked like hell,
or the hammers that had to be replaced,
and the broken loud/soft foot pedal;
it was a time my wife and I were at a loss
to save our marriage, and the shallow
affairs no one knows
about almost ended it once and for all—
so we decided to pull up stakes and go.
I never returned the piano—he knows.
No one else knows.


Copyright © 2017 Stephen Gibson. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017.


Stephen Gibson

Stephen Gibson is the author of several poetry collections, including Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror (University of Arkansas Press, 2017), selected by Billy Collins as the winner of the 2017 Miller Williams Poetry Prize; Rorschach Art Too (Story Line Press, 2014), winner of the Donald Justice Prize; and Rorschach Art (Red Hen Press, 2001).

Of his work, the poet R. T. Smith writes, “A master of surprising and unforgettable juxtaposition, Gibson invokes myth, history and the crises of the moment to reveal both ‘the anonymous connection to all damage’ and the necessity of empathy.”

Gibson, who retired in 2015, taught at Palm Beach State College for thirty-two years. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Selected Bibliography

Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror (University of Arkansas Press, 2017)
The Garden of Earthly Delights Book of Ghazals (Texas Review Press, 2016)
Rorschach Art Too (Story Line Press, 2014)
Paradise (University of Arkansas Press, 2011)
Frescoes (Lost Horse Press, 2010)
Rorschach Art (Red Hen Press, 2001)

Date Published: 2017-07-27

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