There were three of them, and only two
finished the work. Ethereal all,
bluestockings I suppose you’d call them.
One I recall was taking counterpoint;
I noticed how she clutched her book
of exercises to her breast coming out of
class, her cheeks in high color. She took up with
a guy from New Hampshire, as handsome in a
backwoods way as a Greek god with golden hair.
The second brought hers to the house of
her marriage, on the North Shore.
I never heard her play it.
I watched her boss, a nature-type, take
her away from her husband, the one with
the money and the name, who lusted for fame.
All started from the same kit, and
one made a mess of it, leaving
the parts to lie unassembled on the floor.
That one was mine; she settled for a
hammer dulcimer, something homely
that you struck with mallets, not with the hands.
She’s the one who’s gone now, unable to
complete the work of herself,
or play the tune that rings within.