Music Box Woman (back by popular demand)

I was born to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

Eyes open and listening

My mother said I didn’t cry

Just shook my face into thousands of shapes

Like I programmed all of my emotions there on her stomach

I’ve always been set to music

Wound tightly and spinning in time

Like my life was a journey of ballerinas and music boxes

So before I learned how to walk

I learned how to open latches

Wind up

And press piano keys

Like some children learn to hold spoons

I ate with my hands

My hands were used for learning

For singing before I knew the word song

My parents don’t remember my first word

Said I babbled in six-eight

And laughed in g-major scales

Spoke melody before english

Tried to prove there is a universal language

Began to speak

By memorizing the lyrics of lullabies

My father sang me to sleep

I would lay on my back

Grasping at the notes with my toes

Dad said I never smiled so wide

I could hear in four part harmony 

Before I knew what snow tasted like

He said I rocked myself into fits of infant giggles


Touched by song

I wrote my first song when I was nine

The blues

I mourned for the struggles of a modern woman

Wrote lyrics on the backs of my double digit multiplication

Tried so hard to conjure emotion

I made strange and contorted faces

Found the kind of truths that we train our children out of repeating

Found what I thought I had left on my mother’s bloody hospital sheets

My mother played the cello

Four hours a day

“The Swan” is written in the hairs on my scalp

I grew into it

A part of me

When a song gives me the chills

My goosebumps are written in G

Tchaikovsky and the Beatles are filed next one one another in my childhood

Share the same dust

They have a common denominator of dancing barefoot on hardwood

The day my mom rolled up the living room carpet

For just such an occasion

At her funeral I took my shoes off

So I could feel the floorboards under the pedals of the piano

I tried to play a song that sounded like Lennon doing a concerto for Violins

I couldn’t find one

So I wrote it

Sang harder than I’ve ever cried

I Sang

Because there is no past tense for “mother”

Because trying to find God is easier when you can’t spell it

Because “I love you” never resinated long enough

Never seemed to carry as far

And I thought maybe

If I did it right

She would hear it.

I plan to sing at my sister’s wedding

Have sonatas playing down the isle for my own

Bury my father with an extra set of guitar strings

And give birth into a room echoing with Bach

So she can hear us coming

One day I’ll carve boxes out of floorboards

Give them to my children

Paint the ballerinas with glasses and brown hair to remember me by

I’ll try to give them my life in music

And hope that I’ll be given from this world

Dancing on their voices and beachwood

  1. breannamo posted this