GRAND PIANO - steve karas

The man watches his muscle fibers depress and lift like haunted piano keys. Each twitch ticking off a fear, from birth until present, going down the list: E.T., the school cafeteria, plane crashes, STDs, skin cancer. He thought he’d buried them under neck ties and family dinners and maybe that’s the problem. The twitches started in his calf, then climbed up his thigh, colonized his waist, back, arms, lips, tongue. The twitches bring on more twitches. Lou Gehrig’s, MS, Muscular Dystrophy. His body is a grand piano. Am I dying? the man asks his doctor. Yes, we all are. The twitches though, the doctor tells him, are the Boogeyman, Bigfoot, they’re the monster under the bed. He tells the man to take up running but that’s all he’s been doing his whole life anyway. Running over burning coals, across shards of glass. What he needs isn’t exercise but an exorcism. I don’t like how you’re acting lately, the man’s wife says. You’re scaring me. He tells her it’s the only way, promises she’ll love him more for it. Under his skin, beneath his ribs, he puts holes in walls, he shatters mirrors, his body rising to an orchestral crescendo.

Steve Karas
Ben Tanzer