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Lera Auerbach, The Trouble Clef

Block-flute [by Lera Auerbach]



Marianna and I are at a summer retreat.
I am five years old. I have a wooden recorder
with me, a block-flute. I blow out melodies.

My parents left – they have some urgent matters.
What urgent matters could there be during the summer?
I play my flute. Igor is here with us. 

He is a genius, a chess prodigy who has won
chess games against the former world champions.
He is my brother, and he has very long legs. 

When Igor walks, I must run after him like a dog.
I quickly get tired. Igor puts me on his shoulders.

I imagine myself as an eagle, a stormy petrel, a seagull.
Igor runs; I fly after him – I am the wind.

The wind plays the flute. Grownups lie.
I know – my grandma, Musenka, is dead.
That’s why my parents left.
I will never see her again. Ne-ver.

“Iga, do you know?” I ask, landing my flight.
 “No,” he answers seriously.
Igor is almost an adult. Grownups lie.
(He Knows)

July 09, 2021

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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