Molly Siegel


A heavy weight sits in my throat;
A once-familiar experience thrown askew.
The blank faces; this ornate, private school concert room is
So different from my teacher’s cozy living room.
My hand on a shiny black E flat,
And right foot on a stubborn pedal, not as smooth as my own.
Yet once I start, the composition flows
Months of practice leading to my opening presentation of this Chopin Waltz
Coming so easily, so naturally
But wait –
The dreaded run approaches, lurking on the horizon.
Failure haunts, an inevitable finale.
My brain tenses, body tightens. I am stricken with fear of this approaching hazard
Flawlessly, my hand runs over thirteen accelerated, consecutive notes
A challenge I had conquered in recent weeks.
I relax.
The sweet and euphonious notes
All come together gracefully.
And as the audience erupts in applause,
My mouth spreads into a proud smile.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.