After I became adept
at reading notes and figuring 
their connection to the ways
my fingers moved, my father 
bought some sheet music: popular 
songs, including My Way and 
The Impossible Dream. He knew 
my piano teacher would not 
approve. She was a nun
who'd left her well-to-do 
family for convent life;
had gone to some war-torn
country to serve by teaching
children music. She 
was the one who told me
how to pronounce the name
of Bach: say it like you've
just swallowed a fly. His
partitas and fugues gave me
the most trouble: when 
what you want is to make 
one clear line of music, 
mistakes are more apparent.
I wanted to learn to play 
Chopin's Faintaisie
Impromptu but my fingers
were not that nimble.
After dinner, it was
the song about quixotic
longing that my father 
never tired of hearing. 
Again, he instructed; again. 
I wonder what star it was 
that he was trying to follow; 
what hopeless quest defined
the narrative in which he
was the hero pressing forward 
on a tired work horse. I'll never 
really know what scars he took 
with him into his grave, which
sorrows shaped his fortitude.

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