Alan Humm: a poem

John Pierpont Morgan at the Piano

Each note sounds like a hundred notes,

swaggering and dwindling and dying

all at once.

He likes to stir them up;

to test them with his fingers.

A chord will hollow itself out,

just like a heart.

Outside, the trees are bucking and wheedling

in the wind. His house is foundering.

The room is losing itself in shadow.

Is his wife coming back?

He wears a buttonhole.

His children, he knows, are all

barbarians. He frots the keys

but, still, the music is a river.

Where is it taking him?

Balding, fiercely mottled,

he appears to embrace the piano

in the crumbling light.

Alan Humm is the editor of One Hand Clapping. You can find more of his writing here.