There’s a Pianist in My Hands

Nov 13, 2022

I feel her… disciplined and precise.

Hands that glide effortlessly across

Ivory, up to ebony, and back again.


I have no such musical mastery.


Elevating notes and chords, tension and tempo

…offering an otherworldly rescue

From the crowded conversations that fill my mind.


I don’t know her name.

Like many untold stories, unfinished lives…

All of them had names.

Replaced by armbands and then, tattoos.


A half-million forced behind brick walls

Her only suitcase, simple belongings, stripped,

The gold locket from her grandmother

Pulled from her neck.


When bombs fell, shattering the piano

Ivory torn off and strewn

Strings broken

Wood splintered and smashed.


There was to be no more music.

Only gaunt faces, forced marches onto

Crowded cattle cars without enough air.

And cold. Such bitter cold.


Yet, she hung on.

And if you could have watched her closely,

You would have seen her wrists dangling at her side

Give a gentle rise…


Followed by lowering her hands to imaginary keys,

You would have noticed the nearly imperceptible

Dance of her fingers … commanding the music

In the concert hall of her mind.


She never left the camps.

Music took her.

Carried her beyond the intolerable

…As it always had.


There’s a pianist in my hands.

Another lifetime.



Grief and Grace
Cellophane Tape


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