the ice piano
— a poem by Rob Plath

the ice piano

it's wednesday night
the end of january
i just got off of work
& i'm standing outside
of an old brick building
trying to stay out of the wind
i don't want to go home yet
i'm sad & restless
i notice the side door has a sign:
under construction/entrance closed
next to the door is an old piano
an upright w/ one leg broken off
the keys are covered w/ icy snow
i take the leg w/ a rusty screw sticking out
of it & try to scrape
some snow off of the keys
some are flattened down, frozen
some are up but make no sound
even when i press down on them
some i lift with a cold finger
& push down
& they release beautiful notes
into the quiet night
the last two keys at the right end sound
like icicles falling & breaking
the first key at the opposite end
hums deep
i imagine footsteps or the door suddenly
but nobody arrives
i keep knocking snow off the keys
trying to revive them
i don't want to go home just yet
there is this ice piano to play
& the winter stars are out

Rob Plath is a prolific writer and Literary Editor for The Commonline Journal. He is the author of eight chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections. His novel Swallowtude (2016) and his poetry collection The Skeleton Sutras (2016) are both forthcoming from Epic Rites Press. His webpage is