My violin teacher — she’s nuts — but she’s also got little boys in her earrings.
I mean little, not in mind, but in cranial capacity: their skulls are as big as preemie acorns, proportional to their bodies of only a few inches high. They don’t think of themselves as boys, so they aren’t, for themselves. They were purchased wholesale from a stocker of conch shells.
Doppelgängers dangling deep in lanterns – the blue glass makes their world blue, but not more than the orange lens over your own corneas paints your own world orange, compared to reality — or to how it sees itself when there are no creatures looking at it. When she shakes her head it’s pure luck they don’t happen to spy one another out their tiny windows — as long as each thinks he is alone, he will go on living and thinking he matters. Dead matter is an undesirable impurity in commercial jewelry.
Luckily, they are each very occupied by something located in their respective insides, keeping their eyes within the walls of their glass houses as the stones tickle my teacher’s graying curls as she shows me how to attack a sound. In the little lanterns the little boys who think they are big stay occupied before their respective pianos.
Eighty-eight keys, each, black and white, lovingly tendrilled with spiraling innards and propped up on four footless legs, lids open-flung to let the sound pour out as soon as someone should touch the cold ivory blocks. And though each of the two little men knows he is alone in his lantern, he believes there are others in a room ajar who can hear his heart as he squeezes it painting the air plunging his tiny bones printing the keys with the invisible traces of oils fit to the grooves of his very fingers which are unique in the world, assuming there is no identical twin. And of course there is not; he’d know if he had a twin, wouldn’t he? By some thread connecting them across the throat of earth even if they’d never met in conscious memory.
You stand by the door as long as you dare
to hear him train that melody around a lonely silver track and tie it back into a resolution sunset in mango soup. And just before the applause can fail to flood the adjacent room you exit back into the open world, the falling leaves, the steaming coffee, the atonal chitter of individuals. How nice it would be
in our blood-rushing real bodies
if we were not totally alone.