Piano

By Patrick Phillips b. 1970 Patrick Phillips
Touched by your goodness, I am like   
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby   
that someone had smashed and somehow   
heaved through an open window.   

And you might think by this I mean I’m broken   
or abandoned, or unloved.   Truth is, I don’t   
know exactly what I am, any more   
than the wreckage in the alley knows   
it’s a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.   

Maybe I’m all that’s left of what I was.   
But touching me, I know, you are the good   
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.   

What would you call that feeling when the wood,   
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

Poem copyright © 2008 by Patrick Phillips. Reprinted from his most recent book of poetry, Boy, University of Georgia Press, 2008, by permission of Patrick Phillips.

Source: Boy (University of Georgia Press, 2008)

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Poet Patrick Phillips b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Biography

Patrick Philips was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a BA from Tufts University, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in English Renaissance literature from New York University. He is the author of the poetry collections Chattahoochee (2004), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Boy (2008). Through his poems, Philips frequently tells stories of earlier generations of his white, working-class family’s . . .

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Poems by Patrick Phillips

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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