After “Tip Toe Dancer” by Karen Marie Garrett

A boy—small enough to sit on the box-like windowsill along the edge
of wood lacquering the vacant second floor of Kaufman’s Hardware Store—
stares across a valley of corn to the inventor’s house on the next ridge.
He who invented some machinery to better the machinery
that had made this small town famous. He who created wonder, mystery
as the dozing summer heat settled slowly through opened tops of windows.
His mother, piano player and dancer, teaches a room of young
girls, all waif-like dreams behind the boy focused on the inventor’s home
which marked the boundary between days sown and those hidden adventures to come
on the far side of that ridge. The boy must have known each one of the danseuses
as they pirouetted and curtsied to the notes from his mother’s piano.
But the man remembers none of this, all an unfocussed musing,
even his mother, gone now sixty-five years. But well-played keys
nudge that closed door open, the man amazed at how melodies
find a boy still there, still sitting, still wondering, still choosing.

Rodger Martin’s For All The Tea in Zhōngguó, 2019, follows The Battlefield Guide, and The Blue Moon Series. He’s a NEFA touring artist and has received an Appalachia poetry award, an NHSCA award for fiction. He’s published in journals throughout the United States and China.