The antique piano was a lovely piece of polished mahogany
a symbol of the parents' good taste presiding in the parlor
expensively displayed for guests to admire and moreso its owners
a testament of fine breeding and culture, the piano bespoke promise.
No one played it of course.
Refinement, though, did not describe the children of the house
much to their parents’ dismay. So unlike the instrument,
smudged and disorderly, the children never behaved
as an instrument should, finely tuned. They lacked the decorum
of an etude; their labors fell short of a concerto’s grace.
No one was allowed near it of course.
“You’re too close. This is a priceless piece.
You might scratch the wood and mar its beauty.
You might chip one of the keys. Do please be careful.
Someday it will be yours,” the parents promised.
No one disputed it was a precious heirloom of course.
Years yawned while the piano sat untouched
a source of pride for the parents and their guests
while the children grew and moved away.
The parents died and now the piano gathers dust
in the backroom of a second-hand music store downtown.
None of the children would have it of course.