Étude for the Cello, Late on an August Night

by Alison Hicks

The pads of the fingers on my left hand

are raw and numb at the same time.

I press my fingernails into their flesh.

To hurt so as not to hurt.

We have many ways of doing this.

The right side of my thumb has no callus at all,

stings when I press—

the thumb scale, a torture I abandon quickly.

For some paths, a guide is required.

Someone to place the thumb on the string,

causing the note to cry out.