His Piano

By Nykki Norlander

His Piano

is in the attic, large windows face the moon

and his hands itch, his body creaks

like the stairs as he climbs them.

Bookcases line the opposite wall

of the piano. When he can glimpse

the middle shelf, he knows he made it.

His knee stiffens and

he grips the railing,

tempted to call out for

his granddaughter, Macy.

but the words catch in his throat like tears.

Once there, he closes his eyes

and plays like Beethoven

or so Macy used to say.

The music melts into him

the wrinkles in his face smoothen,

he loses a few years

and his wife’s’ green eyes

and piano key smile

flash before him.

Grandma is gone, Macy cried

a few days after Diana’s funeral when he argued

to bring the piano back to the living room.

You can’t play.

At night, he turns his pain

into melodies, high and low,

notes that don’t need paper. Only keys,

the same keys that unlock her.

He remembers when Diana was still alive

and Macy was young,

she would crawl into his lap,

while he played. He would lean forward

and tickle her with his white beard,

and she would giggle and look up at him

with eyes like stars.

Similar stars that he glances at every night.

Now, the stairs groan

and he opens his eyes to see

Macy standing before him.

Her sad brown eyes belong to a woman

who can’t let go.

He can’t speak. His hands burn.

She rolls up her sleeves

and sits beside him.

Play, she whispers so quietly he

turns up his hearing aids.

His hands tingle like the first time

he played for Diana.

He whispers Thank you.

Although he is not sure

who he’s talking to.

He plays the words, I Miss Her Too,

from a song he composed,

and performed at the funeral years ago.

He glances at her

and the soft smile that she gives him,

and the light in her eyes

belongs to a woman

who wants to unlock everything.