Back from a fiftieth anniversary trip,
I ponder idly what makes love last.
Shared backgrounds cannot hurt.
Our fathers were servants of a sort,
Respected but poorly paid,
A teacher, a minister;
Our mothers Southern ladies
With a strong sense of self.
More than that, upright pianos
Keep us mindful of the past.
My parents bought one used,
Crackled black veneer.
I can hear my father playing “Margie,”
Ragtime-style, walking bass.
I practiced Czerny etudes
Just long enough to win release
To the solitary game I had devised,
A tennis ball thrown against
The incline of the cellar door,
Caught, or not, and scored
According to intricate rules,
Players with imaginary names.
Hers was a family piece,
Passed down to us
Early in our life together,
The one our daughters played.
Their children have keyboards now,
So when we downsized, we learned
How hard it is to give a piano away.
At length burly men from some
Off-brand church hauled it out,
Promising a note of thanks,
For our tax records,
Which for some reason
© by Robert Demaree.
Used with the author’s permission.