At the St. Louis Institute of Music

When Mr. Croxford
flicked his skinny wrist,
and the metronome began
its slow tick in his throat,
I knew that I was lost.
My thick hands tripped and stumbled
over the deviant keys,
my sour stomach off-key,
out of tune.
Outside, the day grew taut,
the fall air thin as wire,
and his voice, that cracked
and raspy sounding board,
sent me home.