That ribbed black box that could be coaxed to croon
by surer hands than ours—where did it come from?
From whose family history? Was it in tune?
I must have been the one who brought it home
from some estate sale or bric-a-brac store.
Wherever I bought it, whatever I paid
for its pearl and filigree, I’m sure I spent more
than I should have, swayed by its beauty and swayed
by my wanting to please. My husband, who could
play anything, who’d asked for one, shelved it
in the guest room, where its bellows choked with dust.
We were young. Our marriage was never good.
Listen to Chelsea Rathburn read “Elegy for an Accordion”
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