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Old Piano

It took everything to move it in.
Sideways, on a wheeled cart,
dead-now Steve holding the thing
steady while I carried it, pulled it in
     the corner myself.

My mother was proud—one
broken leg, out of tune.
No one knew how to play.
After I was released from Glenbeigh

I sat on the stool in the summer,
plucking the beginning of a Joplin
rag tune Tony showed me
while I was away. It made me think

of Kate and I walking in the park,
the ice cream truck slowly
driving by. Looking at each other.
She drove away in the middle
     of winter

from our small rented house in Toledo,
Ohio. Tears and snow. Silver Pontiac
Sunfire driving slow over ice
on the turnpike back to Warren.

We were going to give it away. Donate
it. It cost more to tune the thing, get it
working, than what my mother paid.
I pressed a white key down. It didn’t

make a sound, like everything else I threw away.



Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.