Black and Ivory

Smooth as silk,

The glistening keys spread out

Before me.

I lay my hands down

Upon them



Daring not to break the

Still air of calm

Blanketing the house.

An endless second of nothing before


I am ripping apart the silence,

Pounding the black and ivory keys.

The pedal goes

UP-down! UP-down!

As the piano cries to the

Night outside.

A lone neighbor hears

Comes to the window

Across from my building

Silhouetted against

The bright light of his home.

My parents too come out to watch


So as not to break my concentration.

The piano guides me

The keys become not

Separate, confusing elements

But a whole.

A last, dramatic chord

Rocks the house,

And then I am done.

I wait, savoring the way

The air quivers with

The memory of the last notes.

“Again” my dad says.

“This time I want you to focus more on the fingering.”

Emma Bertke
Age 13, Grade 8
Hunter College High School
Gold Key

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