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Ars Poetica from Mercy Street

I stop here on Sundays to listen to her play.

Her songs are homeless, and the buildings

in which she plays can change. Only the piano,

the return of chords carried by echoes,

lets me know from outside it’s her.

I have not been in this building before.


The stairwell is old. Like a basement

it leads to a slanting light beneath the door.

The music does not become louder, only more clear

as I walk up the steps.


I believe she knows I was carried here by sound

and because of this allows me to enter—

the smooth length of her arms becoming sharp, exact

at the points of her fingers.


There is something to how her fingers push the keys

as if knowing one note from the absence of others

that makes me believe all songs echo to the silence of another.

She does not stop playing when I touch her shoulder.

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