Sandra Beasley

The Piano Speaks

after Erik Satie



For an hour I forgot my fat self,

my neurotic innards, my addiction to alignment.


For an hour I forgot my fear of rain.


For an hour I was a salamander

shimmying through the kelp in search of shore,

and under his fingers the notes slid loose

from my belly in a long jellyrope of eggs

that took root in the mud. And what


would hatch, I did not know—

a lie. A waltz. An apostle of glass.


For an hour I stood on two legs

and ran. For an hour I panted and galloped.


For an hour I was a maple tree,

and under the summer of his fingers

the notes seeded and winged away


in the clutch of small, elegant helicopters.



“The Piano Speaks” is from I Was the Jukebox (W.W. Norton, 2010).