Iowa Writes

ELAINE ERICKSON
First Piano Recital


In a time that boys
give their girls roses,
try not to make them pregnant,
and Ike tours small Iowa towns,
his speeches lulling corn-fed
crowds, I grow up

at the Mission Covenant Church.
My dream is to play
music like wind
carrying away the congregation.

One evening I sit at the piano,
wearing a new cotton dress
the color of the western sky.

I begin to play.
My 12-year-old hands sprout wings.
I build empires with chords,
make melodies serene as plainsong.
When I finish, the elderly ladies
in the back row gasp, and whispers
spread like a breeze
over cornstalks.  But later

In a time that boys
give their girls roses,
try not to make them pregnant,
and Ike tours small Iowa towns,
his speeches lulling corn-fed
crowds, I grow up

at the Mission Covenant Church.
My dream is to play
music like wind
carrying away the congregation.

One evening I sit at the piano,
wearing a new cotton dress
the color of the western sky.

I begin to play.
My 12-year-old hands sprout wings.
I build empires with chords,
make melodies serene as plainsong.
When I finish, the elderly ladies
in the back row gasp, and whispers
spread like a breeze
over cornstalks.  But later

a fever of stage fright
rises in me, beating
its wings in my chest,
my hands out of control
like a wild colt in slippery mud.

Years pass before music
is a whole house I inhabit,
my audience travelers passing through,
my life for them to view—
a girl just been kissed.

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


ELAINE ERICKSON

Elaine Erickson received a Master of Music degree in Music Composition from Drake University. She has composed five operas and travels to schools throughout Iowa presenting workshops involving her compositions through VSA. Elaine's poetry has been published in The Briar Cliff Review and The Midwest Poetry Review, as well as in six books published by Chestnut Hills Press (Baltimore, MD).  She began writing poetry in 1979 and enjoys writing about her experience as a musician.

"First Piano Recital" was first published by The Briar Cliff Review, Volume 20, 2008.

This page was first displayed
on November 03, 2008

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