Here you go, Deepayan and Kai – thanks for your kind words. These are from a longer narrative collection of sonnets called “The Storyville Fish and the Prince of Cats,” a love story.
Deep in the lurid dark of New Orleans,
Its streets awash with tar and summer sweat,
An old composer rose from halfway dreams,
Awoken by the sound of a cornet.
He peered out into the lonely streets,
Discovering he no longer knew his town—
Once French provincial homes with drooping eaves
Now shotgun tenements of ill-renown.
Down on the corner beneath a lamppost
A coal-wagon boy relaxed on the curb
Where he played a long note, low and morose—
The saddest sound the old man ever heard.
“That’s just the way the music’s gone,” he said,
Fed his fish, fell asleep, died in his bed.
The movers arrived the following day
At the Karnofsky family’s front door.
They said, “The last great maestro passed away
Leaving you everything he had, no more.”
“The fish and its bowl aren’t worth a lot,
But the piano, it’s quite a treasure.”
Mrs. Karnofsky agreed with a nod
And invited the movers to enter.
They set the piano down in the hall
And then they handed the fishbowl over.
Left by herself to consider it all,
Mrs. Karnofsky searched for some closure.
“Grandfather didn’t have much in the end,
But for me, his piano and his friend.”
The Storyville Fish heard her think out loud,
And was amazed she had been called a friend.
Unsure whether to feel humbled or proud,
She found she simply could not comprehend.
“Old man lived alone
Heart bursting of things unsaid
Fish lived alone too.”
Thus pacified, the fish turned on her tail
And traveled round and around her glass room.
She never tired swimming the same trail
For it was the path of the sun and the moon.
This home was not much different than the last,
She thought, brushing a fin against the glass.
What I do after work when I shut myself up in my room.