Monday, July 20, 2015

Grieg's Piano Concerto in South Texas, 1949 by Jan Duncan-O'Neal

          For Bill

Every Saturday morning before he fills
the enamel bucket with fresh water, the boy
places his favorite 78 on the record player.

He listens for a roll of timpani,
a piano flourish. He is on his knees now,
a floor scrubber dutifully washing

a family’s footprints, a week’s dirt
from the Mexican tiled back porch.
The music carries him on, fills his head.

Halfway through the movement,
the needle sticks in the last groove.
The boy, hands damp, reaches 

to turn the record over. Electric shocks pinch
his fingers, run up his arms, but he persists,
throws out soiled water, fills the bucket

with fresh. Scrubbing, moving faster
with the piano’s tempo, he finishes
the floor in record time.

Jan Duncan-O’Neal has devoted the past twelve years to writing poetry since her retirement in the library world. Her work has been widely published, and The Lives You Touch Publications published her chapbook Voices: Lost and Found in 2011. She is currently compiling a full length collection and is an editor for I-70 Review.

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