Peter Grandbois

To sing and begin again

“I only live in my music.”—Beethoven (1770-1827)

You want to believe music will save you,
but there are too many lives to hold,

not counting the ones in which you do not
yet exist. And so you empty yourself

of blown open silence as the world
continues to burn, unattended.

Take the humming in the fields. Take the fugue
of trees and weeds that crown into this world

unredeemed, take the dirt that rescinds
our loneliness and the rain whose cadence

measures the hollow curve at the end
of our loves. It isn’t enough to pluck

the ghosts of former selves we find wading
through the teeming grass. Not enough to walk

the unstrung roads sounding out who we are,
who we might have been, when all we need do

is listen to the drip of the world-song,
no matter the language, as it spills over

this lip of sky. The body and its rope
of notes like stars our eyes can’t see.


Peter Grandbois is the author of eight previous books, the most recent of which is This House That (Brighthorse Books, 2017). His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in over one hundred journals. His plays have been performed in St. Louis, Columbus, Los Angeles, and New York. He is a senior editor at Boulevard magazine and teaches at Denison University in Ohio.

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