My accordion’s keys are decently polished
but he whines like a gigolo abandoned
on the Texarkana strand.
Can he call the forsythia into motion,
or disperse the rabbits
when his B-flat above middle C is silent,
when his A-sharp minor is a feeble imitation
of engine whistles crying across a tundra
between Vladivostok and Volgograd?
His hundred-twenty buttons jump up and down
in a phalanx arranged like chess pawns
in a game suspended for a temporary millennium.
His battered insignia hangs loose
and sways like the sign on a Bowery bar.
Perhaps he needs a lobotomy, or a thorough overhaul
of all his secret ducts and passages.
His bellows are a moldering Elizabethan collar.
His reeds cannot modulate the muzak of the spheres.
Heaven help us if he mates with the Ocarina-in-Residence.
Bob Schildgen was managing editor of Sierra, the Sierra Club ‘s national magazine, for many years, and also a regular columnist and blogger there from 2005 to 2019. His poetry has appeared in a variety of publications.