Somewhere in the Piano

Summer, 2012 / No. 28

“The truth was that Dennis was in no better shape than his brother [Brian], but he still clung to the belief that there was a melody hidden somewhere in the piano that might save them.” —Ben Edmonds, on the Beach Boys.

If the angel is already

in the stone (to quote

one Michelangelo),

and therefore ready

to be chiselled free

at any time by any

old Michelangelo

who happens along,

then maybe the standards

and slighter songs

of the future (the Jeanies

with the light brown hair

as well as the genies

in a bottle) are stored

somewhere in the piano

and have been around

forever. Maybe the great

and the not-so-great

works of art (like flies

in amber or flint arrows

in permafrost) aren’t made

so much as lost and later

found. Maybe the great

composer matters

no more than his writeoff

of a younger brother

or the nice enough but not

especially gifted nun,

or anyone in a habit

of praying near pianos

for something for the love

of God to happen.

Jason Guriel’s new book, The Pigheaded Soul: Essays and Reviews on Poetry and Culture, is forthcoming in 2013. Last updated winter, 2012–2013.