At Mr. Jeff's Music Academy
— a poem by George Bishop

A little girl on guitar, piano boy, sounds
being urged into the air like dust scaling

some unknown attic draft. Mr. Jeff knows
someday they’ll say something, but for now

he leans back and looks through the ceiling,
listens to the children explore the darkness

coming off each lone note, a kind of night
beyond their bed lit up for the first time.

They try their best to move them closer,
sensing the lure of attachments in the air,

some ghostly shapes of tune. But it’s no use—
the sharp edges of Mr. Jeff’s ears peel away

the dead skin of each attempt. He knows
no matter how many songs they finally fit

on the tip of each finger, one day they’ll be
called back, like him, to some single sound,

they’ll be forced to lie down in its poor
perfection and die in the dust of a message

only ever sent to themselves. It’s something
he must keep from them now, a lesson

only the audience of their own reflection
can teach, and only as they gradually begin

falling into the silence of an empty chair.
George Bishop is the author of five chapbooks. His full length collection, “Expecting Delays”, was published by FutureCycle Press in January 2013. Recent work appears in New Plains Review, Naugatuck River Review and Sakura Review. Forthcoming work will be featured in Cold Mountain Review. Bishop attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Saint Cloud, Florida.