Your piano is poetry and I
sing it with little fingers. Wrinkled
hands in brazen color dance
on keys like a palm-sized spider
fists that learned to be gentle only
to cradle a cigar or two
in basketball afternoons
I still look at that rocking chair as if
it was your throne we fought for supremacy
you had its heart, it held you with secret lullabies
where you dreamed of notes, taking forms, holding hands
and you never needed paper to memorize them.
Songs loved you, you knew them by heart as if
they were human, they were your friends.
The organ at church misses you, the walls
still resound of your name when the keys are touched.
I have longer fingers now, I know the names
of the flats and majors and octaves but
I still want to sing your poetry
the way you did it before.
Benny is the nickname of my grandfather, Bienvenido, the church pianist who was known for playing hymns without the need of sheet music. Benny was also a choir director, a faithful veteran and a humble worker in the Philippine Post Office. Benny died on November 5, 1995, which was also his 75th birthday.