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Aubade

When the house burned they
could find no photographs 

no crisped edges, no smoked
eyes or shadowed cheekbones.

Past the bent wire gate
beneath the singed elms,

the chimney’s foot heaped
with bricks, on the first day

they found only the ruined piano, 
silted with ash, raked like a storm

driven schooner. Rain hissed
through the wreckage and deep

below they heard the dense crack
of hot stones bursting. Weeks 

later she found birds nesting 
in the instrument, a single 

convolvulus vine shot in heady
spiral along the chimney, bricks

glowing. That night in his 
kitchen her brother smoked 

and smoked and would not sit 
and in her sleep she heard 

the sift of sparrows’ feet 
along the sounding board

over the black trees’ soughing,
comforting as a scratched record.

In the morning he came 
with her but they found only 

the last snapped string, 
feathers, a little blood.

Posted 12/31/15
"Aubade" originally appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, Issue 50.
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