The Piano Lesson

            after Henri Matisse

 

I.

Hope of the boy’s

hidden hands that they meet

 

at the final triangle’s

point, the key

 

II.

The twice-painted women

are strung silent.

 

The boy sits in air’s

clear fire between

 

wrought music stand,

wrought railing. The scene

 

orients around

the unseen bodiless

 

dancer the women

are bodies of.

 

III.

The wrought railing

strains for the world

of green the world

of time – in this house

 

sheer cliffs, the window’s

slice of green a slice

of time, a sharp absent

point on the burnt piano-top

where the metronome mocks

the candle, taps

its own candlelife out

in unlovely coughs

as the candle lost

in its shining locks

is too much song,

is not hope

 

IV.

The two mothers guard

the depthless walls

of the past he purges

now in song:

 

with the rest

of the brightened dead

they inhabit hope –

 

V.

And now his fierce eye

confounds its shape

in a shadow honing

 

into evening,

narrowing, lengthening

into nothing

 

VI.

Must I misshape time?

To another canyon,

another imagined point?

 

O say the boy’s hands,

strong with gathered gaze,

meet that backwards eye