Variations on a Theme by Schönberg (Piano Concerto, Op. 42)

︎︎︎ Evan Benedict

︎ MAY 24, 2022

You keep thinking of midnights in Maine,
cold that cut through bone like a mortician’s
saw—clean, quick, slick; empty the body
cavity and sew it back, or zip it shut like a purse.

Your breath billowing in the night air:
screaming into a phone, words
dissipating in white clouds, ghosted
by streetlight and January snow.

You recall shaking ice from your hair
at the piano, four hand piece fumbling
from numb thumbs still frozen, swollen
with February, like Everest-preserved corpses.

Take those cold hands, press fingertips to bone-
white keys. Remember the melody?
Of course. How could you ever forget
being awake, again, at midnight?

Evan Benedict
is a high school English teacher at Norfolk Collegiate School in Norfolk, Virginia. He writes poetry in his spare time, which he has because he neglects other things. His poetry has been displayed by the City of Norfolk, and featured in Flying South, Silver Rose Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal.