I hear him playing in the night
through the floorboards
as I try to–cannot—sleep.
My husband who complains all through his
daily lessons always sleeps soundly
amidst these nightly private shows.
Daytime is bedlam here and the plinking of
incompetent pupils jostles with the
incessant squall of infants
and the sulky bulk of my husband,
sorry for himself because he has no work
and I, in consequence, too much.
I mend my musician’s clothes, probably,
but which is his of all I do?
which his wife’s? and which is mine?
I know I should worry about the price of
bread or whether Berthe’s cough might
catch and kill her
but a tune he plays is tickling me,
makes me want to dance again
as I did once, red and laughing,
until I fell into bed alone
uncaring, adrift on
whole Californias of dreams.
A moment’s silence, then new music
and I shrink towards my husband’s
Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t make
such sad sounds as I lie and
hear him playing in the night.