A phonograph on the high-top table and a conductor’s baton. Unless
you slide the cabinet door, reach in, you will not guess the favorite record
he would play, cueing his invisible orchestra. Still in front, hair-wild
Toscanini, who terrorized us from the ice-blue sleeve.
Framed blueprints squared on the west wall, signature looping.
On the top shelf of the closet, rusty coffee cans—but you will not see,
unless you climb a chair to lift them down––their glassy marbles,
milky swirl and tiger’s eye.
On the east wall, crinkled pages—spiky words and crayon drawings. One
says only: I will leave the writing of poems to your younger grandchildren.
You will not hear the flute I played for him that day, nor see the violin
my grandmother (I never knew her) clutched beneath her chin because
they did not keep it.
A walnut roll-top desk: Slide the top to see a calendar, embossed. Squint
to read––Benjamin David Pape, Realtor. You might not think to cross the room,
reach up to curl your finger into the spine of the tallest book on the shelf, tug
it down to see the famous architect on glossy pages. No one will tell you Ben Pape
took the train in 1928 to Chicago, Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice-to-be, until
the telegram, news from his mother. He packed his bags and bought a ticket home.