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The Bull & The Piano, Russell Zintel


They carted the piano to the middle of the field on rain wings.

Anyone driving by surely thought it was a bull, hunched

Into whatever shape humankind wanted him.

Placid hulk shadowed without sun, his even row of rectangular teeth.

Out of the blue, 11,000 apple trees sang.

Many songs have been devouring me all my life. From this questionable foundation of leaves

The screech of a bull spread into many notes

Startling my rooted ear.

Then I heard them move the piano away from the edge of the field, after the rain flipped

Like vinyl, quiet & unscratched.

The bull, unremarked upon, an Aussie shepherd

Running around what his hooves had become.

Cars began to slow, & realize it was an instrument.

The sort to want to see the bull’s injustice response

Over soft piano music.

Which teased sub-trickles of sadness from the rain, itself.

The sounding resilience of its waterlogged notes, eliciting

My mother who reached for teeth on her own piano.

Hungry fingers, hers.

It drained me down & leeched me, a tune she played

Last time I saw her.

To the chagrin & joy of crab apple trees.

Sour fruit always outlives us.

Especially when an ancient soil is reclaimed

From inside our remembered bodies, the street where our old house was.

Rose secrets, gaseous, which the bull lapped up

& spat out the wild petals

At the field’s edge:

He only kept what the dirt had lost

The mouth to form

Words for

More than 100 years ago.


Russell Zintel lives north along the Hudson River with his partner KT and their cat. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in decomP Magazine, Re-Side Zine, Tiger Moth Review, and others.

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