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The Sound of a Piano Playing on the Train Tracks

I recorded a song on the piano

I fell in love alone in the grass

I thanked the stars just for being there

even if their love was already spent

the grass was full of rabbit guts

the coyotes always left the stomachs behind

they looked like salted slugs

or little alien fetuses

I was alone all the time

I couldn’t afford any company

except the kind I didn’t want anymore

the streetlights were all burned out

and I liked it that way

finally you came along

I wanted to teach you to play

we recorded over some religious

sermons about death on an old Tascam tape recorder

all night we walked where dead lamps were just a memory of light

an opaque eye following along

the coyote trails and skid marks—

skid marks of life clinging to gravity

at the edge of the city

we finally fell in love and I left

for Texas the very next day

and now you are mine the way most things that were

once mine are gone:

I was tired of the self-seekers, the mental hospitals and antipsychotics, the

drunks, the hippies and the Krishnas, all the shared, cult-like trauma

holding us close for the wrong reasons

I could never forget what I could always return to—

the sound of touching down

echoes on like a dull thud

like a shot to the head

past lives are like that

I listen to my piano and I don’t recognize the player

I sell it to a Russian mother

for twice what I paid

By Walker Rose


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