The violin teacher was only a child herself.
Because her father was famous
She wore her nails short
For the sake of the strings
For a Stradivarius.
Her pupils adored her
Because she was red-haired
And her voice was both husky and sweet,
And, though they could not say,
Because her soul was at her fingertips.
Later, she gave up music
Her father did not speak to her for years,
And the man she married plays the harmonica
At birthday parties.
Now on the day she gets the black case
From the attic
And gives the violin to the boy who mows the lawn,
She sits in her quiet kitchen
And reads in the newspaper
Of the man from Vilnius
Who wakes every morning
Smelling chestnuts from his childhood
And weeping for the lost sounds of the Lithuanian song
He used to hear from his bedroom window.
She moves through her silent kitchen
Her fingers aching
Setting the oven timer
Turning on the blender
Just for the music of it.