Musette in D major
First Lessons in Bach
There was wood, bone,
an indecipherable and ordered script,
an air I know now as age . . .
We stop for a moment to survey the land, then I take your hand,
wrap it to mine with blue tape, no, you’re not allowed to let go, we
roll down the hill like we did as children, crushing the yellow and
white flowers. If we hold this one to your chin, I can see where you’d
like me better. If we hold this one to my feet, you can know where
our secrets are buried. We stop for a moment to hear the band, I
drum my fingers against your cheek, do you remember that feeling
when you first made music? I know there was wood, bone, script. I
remember my teacher, the sheet on the wall, how she told me to see
the score as skeleton. Ornamentation is a mode of resistance. I
learned to tie ribbons of lace, imprint my breasts on velvet, produce
violet in beds of achroma. If you put your fingers here, whisper kyrie
into my shoulder, I’ll show you what I learned then of freedom. You
write me an epic, I write you an alphabet, each note is played to say,
we exist. A year later she was dead, and I started to say, she was the
first I’d ever known. Let’s stop for a moment, you need to
understand, the plan says I trade dahlias for peonies. The plan says
he hums while he plays your lullabies. The plan says she achieves
symmetry in refusing to use the unconscious. The plan says you read
out the names on tombstones, I breathe your letters before sleeping.
There is a street, which is just a street.
We stop, and still the bells are tolling.