A Brief Sonata For Beginners


Understand this, you will
need the patience of a poor
man, and the drive of a mad


We have been practicing scales and loose rhythms
and legato redemptions,

as if tomorrow were Sunday. Even still, rehearsed tunes
ripple deadbeat heads,

dressed accents foreign, but
for a bashed downbeat,

we’ll lounge,
beneath a defeated encore.


& on days when sisters ran away
together and brothers learned to stand
apart, my mother still fed me
with cold cut sandwiches, chased down
by heated words, & my books

have taught me
the dissonance of sincerity
and not much more.

I have been told
when Eve tasted knowledge,
searching for intimacies known
only between Greek gods,
she found a weeping, naked
minor chord, stripped of roots.
If patrons furrow a brow, I play yet

uninterrupted, martyrs,
I have been told, die well.


When you are sure
the song has finished
bow with practiced grace.

Kiss your instrument first,
your Father second.
Find a languid sidewalk home,
content knowing you have made a clean ending.

Alexa Suarez, Age 15, Grade 11, Stuyvesant High School, Gold Key

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