The 2River View 24.4 (Summer 2020)

D M Gordon

Longing for Mozart

It’s two minutes to midnight. Steam from the heated pool glows blue with underwater lights. It’s raining. At the window, I hear, but cannot see, the bad children running, the slap of their footfall, their laughter unbound.

It’s mid-morning. The balconies are rotting and must come down. Men with sledgehammers shake the house. On their paint-splattered radio, the news loops: The Last Rhino Has Died.

On my bed, my mother sits, straight-legged, stiff feet, perfect blond curls. She hugs a life-sized doll of herself in her lap, straight-legged, stiff feet, perfect blond curls.

In the evening, I dress in coral silk with rosettes at my hem. The Steinway waits open, the gold candelabra, the audience of friends my mother invited. She, with her Madonna lips, waits in the front row. I adjust the bench, put my fingers on the keys. I crave Mozart.

A narrow river runs beyond the lawn and steaming pool. In it, a dappled whale shark slowly swims upstream, leaving the ocean. Others follow.

In all the world, all the cars.

I am burying someone in a muddy corner of the yard. I didn’t kill them, but there has been terrible violence and I am the one with a shovel.

Outside the room where my mother held the doll of herself, and the ballroom, empty now, beyond the demolished balconies and pool where the bad children run at night, beyond the stream with its dark creatures, there is a field. Four fawns rest there, legs tucked, eight ears, looking at me looking at them. Above, geese migrate. How much longer will they be able to fly away?

D M Gordon is the author of Nightly, At the Institute of the Possible, a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. She’s a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in fiction, two-time finalist in poetry.

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