was vanishing; the branch so pinched and slow
it could not reach beyond his weathered trunk
nor unlock so many arthritic knots,
was vanishing; but even so, in March
Chopin once introduced those gnarled hands
to Wurlitzer in stumbling three-quarter
how-do-you-dos, and vanished broken keys
amidst the counter-point; while April rains
did not deter the customary triple step
of cane and foot around the block; perhaps
he did not understand how every shade
consumes, how each condensing mist descends
and tangles aging limbs, both pinched and slow,
how he, but for wood sounding on concrete
Dedicated to Dick.
From a class exercise, a long time ago. The requirement was to start a new poem using the line “was vanishing; the branch so pinched and slow” from “November Cotton Flower” by Jean Toomer.