The Moon is a Paper Lantern, Arm of the Boy Who Carries it Tired

by Alison Hicks

I used to find my dog’s hair in bird’s nests,

soft layer woven inside the twigs.

I release hair from my hairbrush out my bedroom window.

My son practices “The Swan” transposed for viola.

Shift to third position, then to fifth.

You want to hear just a bit of the slide,

near the end of the note, his teacher says.

Don’t touch the neck. The hand moves as a unit.

String instruments, where pitch is found by memory,

offer the most choices for musicality,

are the most expressive, most like the voice.

I print out the music, finger the notes on my forearm.

You have to have a plan, Mr. Barnett says.

I haven’t touched the cello in months.

The house is large, the ceilings high.

I run from room to room

laughing at the sound of my shoes.

No one is dancing, only me, twirling on the wood floor.