we knew the heaviness of each other’s hearts

Music becomes even more resplendent, commanding, and at times spiritual in the capable hands of Anne-Marie Thompson, a pianist herself whose love of music–and those who play–echoes throughout the pages of her first book, Audiation.

“Siberia, 1986”

Clutched in a fist of dust    a halo of dust
    the track ramshackled up the road from nowhere
    from some other nowhere    and    as if all this were
written down     written in dust     and to it you shall return
as if we made a mark on any map at all
    pulled over to my father and me    and he
    familiar    leaned out the window saying come
and there would be a concert at the church
I will be playing a concert at the church
and so we followed him and there was a crowd
already gathered    neighbors    some were strangers
but like us    they were strangers but poor like us
and we were quiet together and the twilight was quiet
    the twilight waited with us      and we all watched
as he stepped down and someone helped him loosen
the locks and straps    like untethering a bear
                                                                        the piano
growled and squeaked as they guided it      a whisper
    Richter    Sviatoslav Richter from the radio
they said
     and he sat down and we understood
    the actual weight of gravity        remembered
what the earth looks like     sounds like     from heaven
    and we were quiet together     and the man
was serious     was serious as his hands were serious
    bear hands    iron hands     but gentle as a man
can be gentle and he knew the actual weight
of our sorrows     and we were quiet together
                                                                     and when
my father and I walked home      walked in silence home
we knew the heaviness of each other’s hearts    the heaviness
of those gentleman hands    hard hands and we were quiet
and heard    something    a coming and a going
    a breath or a raising up     the whisper of a sickle
the lifting     of a page     the lifting of hands


Now is my father traveling where there is no road

“Poem for my Father’s Ghost”

–Mary Oliver

Now is my father
A traveler, like all the bold men
He talked of, endlessly
And with boundless admiration,
Over the supper table,
Or gazing up from his white pillow —
Book on his lap always, until
Even that grew too heavy to hold.

Now is my father free of all binding fevers
Now is my father
Travelling where there is no road
Finally, he could not lift a hand
To cover his eyes.
Now he climbs to the eye of the river,
He strides through the Dakotas,
He disappears into the mountains, And though he looks
Cold and hungry as any man
At the end of a questing season,

He is one of them now:
He cannot be stopped.

Now is my father
Walking the wind,
Sniffing the deep Pacific
That begins at the end of the world.

Vanished from us utterly,
Now is my father circling the deepest forest —
Then turning in to the last red campfire burning
In the final hills,

Where chieftains, warriors and heroes
Rise and make him welcome,
Recognizing, under the shambles of his body,
A brother who has walked his thousand miles.