Aging Accordion Paper



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.