It’s Thursday at eight but my homework’s not done
and now here come the symphony kids:
the strings and the winds and the brass and percussion
no pianists can join, but too bad, that’s my problem
my fate is a room with no one else but me
before class, during lunch, before sports, after dinner
practice practice practice practice practice practice
can I have best friends and still play piano?
the symphony kids order Thai food and boba
doing homework on the red cushy sofa
they play Mozart in concerts, and it sounds terrific!
the symphony kids can have both, but not me
in ninth grade I ate lunch with friends everyday
it was only us five, but that didn’t matter
we were our own group of symphony kids
until I left them and Portsmouth for Exeter
I’ve done everything right here; I’m friendly and kind
but I reach out to people, and so few reach back
most nights these weeks, I eat dinner alone, but
the symphony kids socialize without trying
I don’t mind the hours of practice each day
I’ve never resented that I play piano, but
sometimes I wonder what I’m missing out on
while I play Ravel in a practice room:
trips to St. Anthony’s for cinnamon rolls;
deep conversations about life over dinner;
sports games, trail walks, Lexie’s, and iceskating
smiling and talking and joking and laughing
I hear that friends do this, but I wouldn’t know
the symphony kids don’t invite me to join them
here’s a pianist’s fate, perhaps rightfully so
because they play together, and I play alone.
Hannah Rubin is 17 years old and lives in New Castle, NH, USA. She is in eleventh grade at Phillips Exeter Academy. Her writing has been honored by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the 2021 Racial Unity Poetry Competition, and has been featured in The Poet’s Touchstone and the Black Matter is Life poetry series. Currently she is a member of the NH Teen Poet Laureate Team, part of the Writing the Land project, and the Submissions Coordinator for The Poet’s Touchstone volume 64, issue 1.