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  • Bad Piano
  • Marianne Boruch (bio)

The Anderson Center, Red Wing, Minnesota

The piano can’t at the moment, sorry.Room high-ceilinged and perfectlyout of old wood made new by sanding.

Like turtles doze in waterunder a slab on bricks, their concrete troughbeneath heat lamps allbarn winter. Just wait. A pond outside,real light to come.

Lots of music that way, the old snapperprehistorically, preternaturallycranky at the heart of it. But one timea turkey got into its head to walk freshly pouredcement in there, to leave tracksonce I was,every claw starred into the stuff heavierand heavier. Put thatin the final riff for a grave-glorioussecond movement.

If ever violin and cello orviola and dark anything joinedin holy matrimony, the sound would be soBrahms again, the bad piano’soh yes under their [End Page 132] “sexual interlude,” a phrase my soon-to-retireexcruciatingly odd professor as ifwith the most delicate tweezersloved fixing to what a playwright let loose onvery unhappy people, skimpy clothes,shades drawn, sweltering midsummer, the stage

I kept picturing,biking to class so ago mid-November, mostlysnow wilding sideways—iridescent!

The piano is badfor a reason. Played to deathit might complain like any other creatureafter a hard day being human. [End Page 133]

Marianne Boruch

Marianne Boruch ’s work includes nine collections of poetry—including, most recently, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing; Cadaver, Speak; The Book of Hours (Copper Canyon)—and three books of essays on poetry, including the forthcoming The Little Death of Self: Nine Essays toward Poetry. Her collection The Book of Hours received the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award in 2013, and the recent Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing was selected by the New Yorker as a “Most Loved Book” of 2016. Her poems and essays have appeared in such places as the New Yorker, the Nation, the New York Review of Books, Poetry London, FIELD, Iowa Review, the Georgia Review, the London Review of Books, the Yale Review, APR, Poetry, and have been thrice anthologized in The Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Her awards include four Pushcart Prizes, two fellowships from the nea, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Glick Award for Indiana Writers, and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and elsewhere.



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