Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Harmonica

The shoes were empty.
Where usually sat a kitten
curled up in the tired evenings.
Those weather-beaten shoes
were now empty.
The kitten had given them up
and preferred now
the small boy's pocket instead.
Closer to a beating heart.
The wardrobe was empty.
The clothes,
they had been packed
and handed out to the homeless.
Warmer nights and dignity
wrapped up in cellophane.
The knob where the chequered coat
usually hung was empty too.
But the coat had been saved.
Its pockets,
the ones that used to be full of
sugary toffees - yellow, orange, red;
now full of moth balls.
The right side of the bed was empty.
Mother would reach out
and caress the pillow sometimes,
the small boy had observed.
But the pillow was empty.
No indention of a head even.
As he sat on the steps he saw that
the carnation beds in the garden
stood empty and waiting too.
The kitten purred in his pocket
next to the old, silver harmonica.
He took it out and turned it over
in his little hands, examining for faults.
The corners he observed were rusting.
He polished it vigorously on his sleeve.
I'll teach you - the promise was empty.
He took a deep breath, puffed up his cheeks
and put the harmonica to his lips anyway.
And the house, even the quietest corners
and smallest, narrowest hiding places,
filled up with the imperfect note he played.