Magnolias in Wisconsin

I prefer these northern strugglers, plunked
in inhospitable front yards, and banked

each winter against the cold. No bigger than
a man, crabbed and flowering the briefest span

of days each spring, a week at most. The petals stark-
soft as milk against the still bare branches’ rough-cragged bark.

Too quick, the blown
petals wet brown

and shriveled over the cooling grass,
a frayed and fraying lace.

Somewhere Piano, Again

These are the rehearsal rooms of the brain.
Strangely echoed, some, and others
strangely dead, wander once more
the narrow, ill-lit halls.

Rehearsing and rehearsing
on the instrument of haunt, reversing again,
and overheard through walls, muffled,
a someone else, anonymous, not quite

in tune, remembered ever, trying
and trying (how much we want)
to get that passage right.