To Pauline Wong

A deer
you taught me
how to stretch
my fingers around
crotchets and minims
how to read
clefs and breves

A drop
I pause and begin
at the tap of your foot
the rap on my knuckles
the metronome stands
nothing but a symbol

A name
you gave me
patience in semibreves
happiness in quavers
fleeting semiquavers
and I showed off
with the demisemis

A long long way
we exist in two timezones
You said one day
we’ll watch an orchestra
together at the Esplanade
I still wait for that day

A needle
I, the thread
that you tried so hard
my fingers to unknot
“Octopus hand”
you say when my wrist
raises itself as I attempt
to reach beyond an octave

A note
you play
for me to sing
the examiner must
be impressed
I must not tarnish
your repute
But Aural always
took me over

A drink
one day we’ll share
when I find you again
It’s been seven years
and counting
but you’ll always be
the one that taught me
how to practice
how to feel
how to be
my art

And you will bring me back to

No one knows me like the piano
in my mother’s home
– Sampha