My composer-father’s leonine bust of Beethoven
glares down at me from atop the piano. My father
spends, as far back as I remember, countless hours
at the keyboard. It’s my turn. I’m nine.

I practice for the first time the deaf genius’
Moonlight Sonata. Opening notes of the Adagio
remind me of tears. My fingers stumble over
pattering tempos of light rain on a still pond.

C-sharp minor is, I learn later, the key of love
and loss. Yet, I feel joy. Sad harmonies I coax
from pedal and string enter without resistance
my young, untried soul. Is the magic really mine?

Years pass before I realize joy and sadness
ride side by side. Life in C-sharp minor.
Beethoven writes Moonlight as he goes deaf.
The child in me still plays, hears it for him.