After the Piano

Elisa Gabbert


Tina says things will always change.
But it feels like they're changing

backwards, with no surprises.
This fantastical struggle,

satisfaction, disappointment—
the difference between something and nothing

is subtle. What if Rilke had said,
You should change your life.

What if we regress to a different past?

There seem to be no diminishing
returns on my third bourbon,

what beauty we have is improved
by the dark, my brother loves me

but he doesn't miss me.
Something skipped.

I wasn't happy—joy is closer
to pain, hanging suspended on the chord

like a blade. I misremember
the meaning of the kiss.