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Jeff Friedman

How he loved remembering that she had been in love with him, kissing him suddenly while they sat at the piano, playing Chopsticks together. She didn’t remember that: kissing him or being in love. I would never have played Chopsticks, or any other song with you. I never learned to play the piano, she said. He took her hands in his and looked into her eyes. We were lovers, he said. I just met you, she answered. He led her to the piano and helped her sit down. We’ve been married a long time, he said, taking the spot next to her. She closed her eyes, thinking about what he had just told her, but when she thought about lying down in the bedroom, she couldn’t picture him beside her. When she thought about the living room, he was not in it. Nor was he with her when she walked the neighborhood, stopping to admire the purple flowers and the Burning Bushes. Nor could she place him in the garden. Nor could she feel his lips kissing her tenderly on the cheek. As he began to play Chopsticks, her hands moved up and down too, but didn’t touch the keys.

Jeff Friedman has published nine collections of poetry and prose, including The Marksman (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2020), Floating Tales (Plume Editions/Madhat Press, 2017), and most recently The House of Grana Padano (Pelekinesis, April 2022), cowritten with Meg Pokrass.

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