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Hedy Habra

The Upright Piano 

           After Piano on Fire by Andrew Ferez


I see myself out in the cold, draped in a silk nightgown, seated barefoot on a stool by that 

upright piano, you know, the one my mother bought when she thought I should take 

piano lessons, while others played during recess, oh, how I first struggled striking notes 

daily, practicing scales, then rehearsing Mozart’s “Rondo alla Turca” till I’d play it in my 

mind relentlessly, tan tan tan . . . tan tan tan . . . even when I knew I’d never learn 

another piece, and now, half a century later, I am drawing with memory’s wavering lines 

that same piano to make it the vessel of my heart’s message, of so much left unsaid 

buried in a bitter well turning into notes that rise in tongues of cold fire licking my 

insides with every key I touch, unharmed, I feel the piano ablaze under my fingertips, 

twisted candles adorn its top that grows into a tower and turrets spouting flames from 

windows, a menace to the adjacent branches, my fingers wildly strike the keyboard while 

the sky opens up like a stage filled with shimmering damask memories dancing to the 

melody like maddened fireflies.

Boreas’ Anger 

           After Metamorphic Awareness (Island of Dead) by Viktor Safonkin


After giant waves whipped the rocky shoreline devouring cliffs at its passage, what 

seemed from a distance a snail hovering over a rock drifting like cork, or small islands 

bobbing over the dark waters has filled my heart with consternation as I realize these 

volutes of smoke rising all over like messages of distress appear now to be fumes spewed 

by the combustion of sins, the world turned upside down, and I who yearned to rescue, 

set out in my small skiff searching for life on coral islands, ventured so close I can see 

this giant hovering snaillike figure blowing, alimenting the furnace, with his metal face 

forged by Hades and all I can do is lower my head in consternation but do not mistake me 

for Charon, and note that my companion has only one head.

The Runner


Mesmerized by her oscillating

feet, my pulse accelerates,

I walk faster at her cadence.

Within seconds, her shirt vanishes 

in the sinking light.


I envy this red-haired Atalanta's slender

figure, her secret bet

with the hourglass. Were I to follow 

her footsteps, my dreams

would drown in the setting sun.


Through a hedge of honey-suckle,

my slower pace discloses twins, 

a double illusion out of a picture

book. Their blond hair woven 

in a thick braid, they water a bed 

of purple impatiens,

sprinkle each flower one by one.


White puffs race across the wild 

undergrowth. Under a tall oak, 

a fledgling hops helplessly,

stronger at each leap, disappears

into the woods.   


Wafts of freshly cut grass permeate

the air.  A blue spruce displays new

shades of tendrils.  Birches' charcoal

eyes, hieroglyphs drawn on papyrus,

carved in the barks’ tender grey 

by nocturnal elves taunt me.  


Tall stems of Queen Anne's lace 

unfold symmetrical umbels. Beneath 

the diaphanous efflorescence, carried 

by invisible strings, a procession of

yellow leaves glides over a horizontal trunk.

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