A cello rests in a room, its neck snugged to the corner,
nearly facing the wall in neglect as if ashamed,
Never her fault, I never loved enough, not until late, too late.
I played for spans.
A public school music teacher examining my third grade hands declared,
“You have long fingers; you’ll play the cello.”
And pronouncement became performance.
I practiced and played: solo, ensemble and orchestra.
Competitions endured at the lust of a failed cello teacher and complicit parents
yielded no more than a B plus plus, merely a red ribbon.
But I scored Romberg’s cello sonata into my fingers for life.
And the taste, a hint of burning desire–first conquest, then mastery.
Until the mid-70s teen culture enwrapped me in smokey rock concerts and pubs,
boys and weed.
And the cello lay low in my childhood home ’til California stole me.
She plays me time to time, decade to decade since then,
testing my resolve and desire, the want-it factor.
She breaks my every attempt, every dream of recapture,
having long ago mastered me.