(for sergei rachmaninoff)

on your birthday, i imagine
four very fragile and lovely
hands breaking in
the twin Steinways Vladimir
brought as gifts overnight –

and oh, how he
rolled them in so
noisily, both wrapped like
no-nonsense bouquets
in clear crinkly paper
so that he could hide
the surprise awhile longer
suppress the singing
strings pulled breathlessly
still, their suspense weighing
heavily upon each wheel –

and how they finally
burn tonight,
hands and strings, as old
friends, you and Vladimir
swallow fire-breathing
concertos whole again
just inches
above the reflection
of New York City

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