My family disintegrated
with Beethoven in the background.

We had Mozart in the morning,
but in the twilight we could hear it coming:

through the thin walls –
“piece of shit,”
an intricate, terribly beautiful symphony
bled through to me.

The lock on my door was broken.

So I built a wall but it couldn’t protect me;
I could hear the bottles’ booms, crashes.

The high alto hawk reached a fevered pitch
as the basset hound baritone’s eyes drooped.

With the duet, years of drama crescendo, fortissimo
the cacophony building onstage:

the coda repeated,
“waste of space,”
and each time louder, sforzando.

The dynamics were there, scrawled in the margins,
but I was powerless to stop the performance.

I sat in the crowd for years, suffocated by the sounds
as I watched our last great opera unravel.

Dazed, still shaken years later,
I can hear echoes ringing
in the sudden silence.