The Piano Lesson
for Karla Kelsey
A few notes, like planets of the remaining
Color, hunger here, sated only by distance,
Only by distance sated. There are no cabs.
Our Spaniard, perhaps as near as the next room,
Would bellow pathos into the gash where child
Keeps his eye. Wise child. Tenderness is not
For such, not for lions. We stare across
The music, meeting you there, planets
Of laundry and an iron tree, green for Christmas.
I have invented a simple balcony for Christ
Behind the piano. Even in daylight,
There stands a ghost against the rail. Her toque
Is thrown into the traffic noise. A few notes,
Yellow as tender to the sun, hang there.
Time might be anything, even the least
Portion of shadow in the blaze, that helpless
Hare of darkness in the hawk’s world.
I’d forgotten, in the haste of me, to reach
Backwards into time one hand. Come along.
I’ve seen a rainbow where no rain was.
The colors were slain children of the wind
Alive again because time might be anything,
And earth a broken astrolabe
Plunged into blackness by force of sunlight
These latter days. There is a flower
In the hawk’s mouth once was an animal.
It hurries towards the sun, and the hawk,
Helpless in the color of it, becomes rain.
Donald Revell is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry, including Pennyweight Windows: New & Selected Poems. His other books include six volumes of translations from the French and three works of critical prose. Among his honors are the Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize, Guggenheim, NEA, and Ingram-Merrill Fellowships, as well as three PEN USA awards in poetry and translation. Revell teaches at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas where he serves as Chair of the Department of English.