by Ted Mc Carthy
He could have written in solder,
his daughter too, even at eight, her eyes
unerringly following the line, lava-slow,
as it curved along the crack
in the euphonium bell. Her hand
moved in time with his, ghosting,
each stop and start perfect as ballet.
They both stood back when it was set,
he, you could see, reading
an invisible stave, the promise of a phrase
heard properly for the first time in years.
I took a chance and played it
once or twice. In secret, not from fear
of what he’d say, but a strange shame
for something not my fault – that after
his accident, that thin scar on his brow
mirrored a greater, deep within; and
the instrument, mellow for me, became
its old cracked self for him. No one
dared challenge his claim to play
or said a word about the gap
between the note and where it should be.
Never mention of the faltering fingers.
I was too young. Then I began
to understand, too late, that of all
the sounds we made, between them alone,
scarred bell and brain a millisecond
slow, was perfect sympathy.
Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada, and Australia. He has had two collections published, November Wedding and Beverly Downs. His work can be found at www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com.