Fathom Mag

The Symbols' Crash

A poem

Published on:
November 23, 2020
Read time:
1 min.
Share this article:

He is a regular Falstaffian sixth grader
with bulbous, sweaty digits clasping hard
the cymbals’ handles, and his smile 
at his small partner—made smaller by the bright timpani
before him—implies a class-clownery bubbling 
just beneath the taught surface of performance fear. 
There is a tension between his desire to fill
the air with a crash at just the right moment
and the deeper desire just to fill the air 
with a crash at any time. The world
is not enough for the kind of teacher this woman
is to have placed such a boy in such a place 
for such a time as this, and, for the first time
in his life, he watches her closely, her bobbing hands
before the sheet music stand, while he waits for his time.

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, a newlywed couple
of an arranged marriage bump clumsily 
in the half-light of a swelling dawn.  

Peter Spaulding
Peter Spaulding is a PhD student at Marquette University, living in Milwaukee with his wife, Erin. He writes poems and has dabbled in longer works, blogging, and podcasting. His favorite word is schism, he loves the Milwaukee County Transit System and John Milton, and has been really into Erik Satie lately.

Cover image by Jeffrey Hamilton

Next story