Just before those familiar three notes,
there was something left unsaid.
Beethoven began his most famous work with silence.
And who was that silence for?
The wisp of an eighth rest – it looks like a bird wing.
For the nightingale he missed every winter?
A tribute to the one he sanctified,
the quiet kiss of her unspoken name.
Perhaps a reflection of the crescent moon’s crooked smile,
its coquettish secret.
Maybe this eyelash of silence is what he remembered
about his mother – the ritual of it –
the dark-sky tales, the heavy quilt barely touching
his sleepy throat,
her wordless night breath hovering
just after she closed the door.