Issue 129, Winter 1993
The Wish Department
Today I sight-read the last
Schubert sonata: he wanders between keys: evasive
and elementary, his melodies
meander. Tipsy Schubert,
if I were to return to 1974 for a piano lesson,
would my teacher say, “You’ve ruined your life,”
or would she just say “hello,”
and with her faraway “hello”
would possibilities cluster around my feet like clouds above the Andes?
The last time I saw her, I lied: I unfurled
fraudulent plans for a piano future.
I wish I’d learned a Schubert sonata in college: no,
I can’t cry “wolf” in the wish department,
I do wish I’d performed the Chopin waltzes
so I can’t bluff and pretend I also wish I’d mastered Schubert —
but I wish I could imitate Schubert now:
he says what he means, says it again and again,
shifts to a distant key and disappears.