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Friday, April 06, 2012


by Gilbert Allen

Now is the time for all good men
to come to the aid of their country.
Letters, words, open spaces
her hands learned by heart
in 1942, for her audition in the towers
of New York.  Twenty years later

I’m only eleven, but still
she’s no man, either.  Twenty fingers, suspended
over the stiff keys. We take turns
closing our eyes, filling
blank paper as if the world
depended upon our play.
On any keyboard, that sentence
still draws the deepest
music from my hands.  Eyes shut
or open, light, no light
no matter.  Now is the time . . . .
For her sake, come home.

Gilbert Allen grew up in New York but has lived in upstate South Carolina for the past 35 years.  Some of his newest poems and stories appear in Able Muse, Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Flyway, Measure, The South Carolina Review, and The Southern Review.