Esther Sadoff

On the beach, my mother and father

My grandmother leaned against the railing,
a tempestuous cloud over her face.
In quiet tones, she painted my mother a wild woman,
as if she were saying something we didn’t know:
my mother spraying cold water on my sister
until she lifted the violin to her shoulder.
How she kicked me off the piano bench,
until I found my way to reason.
I marched my fingers up and down
silent desks and tables to pass the time,
fingers turned soldiers, fingers turned petal-soft.
In the quietest room I played scales
when no one was looking, closed the piano lid
so no one would hear, hid my flaws until the floor
trembled, my mother sliding in beside me,
clearing her throat. How the wash of water
resembles a rush of black and white keys.
I wanted to storm, to be some wild woman.

About the Author

Esther Sadoff is a teacher and writer from Columbus, Ohio. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Santa Clara Review, Drunk Monkeys, Roanoke Review, and South Florida Poetry Journal, among others. She is also a poetry reader for Passengers Journal.