MN poetry: Nolan Zavoral’s “Young Blond Guy at Piano”

Nolan Zavoral is the author of “A Season on the Mat: Dan Gable and the Pursuit of Perfection,” and “The Heretic Hotel.” He spent three decades as a staff writer for three metropolitan newspapers: USA Today, The Milwaukee Journal and The Minneapolis Star Tribune. Nolan, who lives in St. Paul, teaches at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and the College of Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota.

Young Blond Guy at Piano

Who played after lunch, surrounded

By wheelchairs in the nursing home where

He was rehabbing from a car crash, and who

Would stay a titch under a month, and unfurl

Flapper and big-band ditties because he

Sensed the ache in his audience, and who

Once called up my mother as a duet partner and

Filled behind her melody line to You Gotta See

Mama Every Night (Or You won’t See Mama

At All). Her grasping, spidery fingers worked

Their way along some ancient motor-neuron

Path, and impressed the staff, who called me, who

Called her, who said, “What young blond guy?”

- “Young Blond Guy at Piano,” by Nolan Zavoral, as it appears in the collection The Wind Blows, The Ice Breaks: Poems of Loss and Renewal by Minnesota Poets published by Nodin Press. Reprinted with permission from the editor.

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