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.