Dissonance by Pat Snyder Hurley

my mother shouts
kitchen to living room
over the jiggling dance
of the regulator
on her pressure cooker.
Try it again.
Occasionally she walks out
wipes her hands on her apron
bends over, inspects the music
points out the error on the page
since I lack her perfect pitch.
She knows her notes —
better than cousin Evelyn,
who went to conservatory
and can hardly play a thing.
All that education wasted on Evelyn
who never practiced in the first place.
Evelyn’s folks could afford the tuition.
It’s all for the best, she says.
My reliable dad —
high school valedictorian, no college —
would never have fallen
for someone so educated.
And then, of course, there would never
have been me, so she is grateful
for that surprising turn of events
that seemed so sad and is yet
so perfect.
Except occasionally on those lazy afternoons
making pot roast
when I fumble careless with Haydn
and stab her in the heart with Middle C
not elevated.

Pat Snyder Hurley is a Columbus, Ohio poet whose work has been published in the literary journals Pudding Magazine and Still Crazy, Common Threads, a journal of the Ohio Poetry Association, and OPA’s ekphrastic poetry anthology A Rustling and Waking Within, as well as online journals The MOON Magazine and Snapdragon.  Her work also appears in a collection of poems that she and her late husband Bill Hurley wrote during his battle with esophageal cancer (Hard to Swallow, NightBallet Press, 2018).

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