October 11, 2008

Claire Fields

STRAY INSTRUMENT

The secretary has announced
over the intercom that
there is a stray French horn
in the building
and will you please
keep your eyes open
for it.

As the teacher resumes her
lecture, I wonder if
the instrument has escaped
from its black case, tough
as avocado skin,
and has joined a secret band
of stray instrument outcasts:
the ridiculed tuba,
the skittish viola,
the brooding bassoon.

Perhaps, in the winter months,
when sleepy-eyed heaters clang so
loudly from deep below the school
that the teacher must
stop
mid-sentence,
perhaps the clanging is really
the forgotten triangle,
calling the stray band
to attention, saying in his thin voice
“Beethoven’s Fifth, everyone,
on three.”

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006

__________

Claire Fields: “Last spring I took a walk and ended up horribly lost. Eventually, after an hour of reading street signs with foreign names, I found my house again and collapsed on the couch, shaken by the experience. Yet, when I think back to that afternoon, what I think of first is how the leaves being swept from the sidewalk by wind looked so much like a flock of sparrows, spinning into the air on brown wings. This is why I write poetry: to be comforted by the beautifully mundane when I find myself lost.”