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Miss Farida loves
vanilla-smelling candles
which flicker
against the sleeping couch.
I place my sandals
beside the spill
of shoes and slippers strewn
across the plastic mat
in the hallway to her room.
I see the Sesame Street stickers propped
near the electric piano,
tangled in a hoop
of dreaming dust,
and the pedals, wrapped in a layer
of fine metal.
Miss Farida takes my stack
of weary books
that whimper as she turns to "Stepping Stones."
My delicate hands
look like tiny mice skittering
across the keys.
I play to a beat from the metronome
fast as a hummingbird's heartbeat,
slow as a whale's.
Miss Farida takes a pencil
from her hair and writes
in my notebook.
"Tonight you will write a song
about New Year's."
I pick up my denim
bag and dump
my books into it.
Already, I begin to hear
the notes of endless
possibilities for my composition:
The orchestra of 10,000
fuchsia fireworks exploding
in the air,
the symphony of sparklers,
the dropping ball of melody,
the score of the night,
filled with new beginnings.

Friday Night at Miss Farida's Piano Lesson Tae Kathleen Keller
Tae Kathleen Keller, 8
Waipahu, Hawaii