pianist - a poem by Wayne A. Gilbert


death popped in this morning
while i was working on a poem
“what a surprise” i exclaimed 
“somebody just not ready?”

death smiled patted my cheek
“i’ll have what you’re having”

i ordered another pot of earl grey
a 2nd vegan cinnamon roll

i was glad to see death but
i knew not to ask too many questions

“oh” death sighed “it’s nice to sit a few minutes”

i gave death a fake wounded look

“with you” death said “of course with you”

we laughed
we ate a few bites of pastry
death poured tea took a sip
looked me in the eye
“so who’s this piano player
you’ve been working with?”

“you mean stacy?”

death nodded “i know about the poems wayne”

“i never tried to hide them” i quickly replied 

“so tell me about stacy”


“let’s just say i’m curious”

so i told death about my friend stacy
who is an accomplished pianist/composer
and how i wanted her to be part
of the premiere performance 
of these poems

death looked skeptical

“what” i asked defensively

death did not answer

“ok” i said” i get it—
she’s not a jazz musician”

death smiled

i continued “but her music is
haunting and hilarious
familiar and utterly strange
ridiculously fun and bizarrely disturbing
she calls it ‘whimsically macabre’—
it is”

death gulped a mouthful of tea

i added “she’s  not afraid of you”

death made a smacking sound
then smiled “ahhhh”

asked me who i liked in the nba finals