Grace Notes (for Enza)

One of life’s innocents,
the mind of a child in the frame of a woman,
doubly cruel since the frame is freakish, cube-like,
the head massive but stricken,
simplest things beyond her,
she the one dubbed simple.

The new music tutor tried a new trick,
coaxing the class to draw “dots” on the staves.
On the line, he advised, above or below,
Make some of them clear like a bubble,
Make some coloured like a balloon,
Put a string on some,
Let others float free in the air,
add a dot here and there to nudge alongside.

She did as she was told,
clumsy in the trying, unwitting to the wherefores,
but content in the company and safe in that place
where she was a person.
She and her companions performed the task
with degrees of skill and ineptness,
splotching and smudging
and making their defiantly imperfect marks.
It took time, and at the end of it
the tutor had only scruffy and scrappy pieces of paper.

It did not seem a success,
and attention spans threatened to depart,
until the tutor sat at the luminously black grand piano
and began to render into sound the shapes they had made.

One by one he played
the music that had escaped them.
They came at the last to hers.
It was the most winsome and whimsical,
delicate Debussy-like, unlikeliest sound of all,
and after it was played
there was awe in the silence
as they recognized the accidental gift
that was hers,
and her.