Wherever you look in this town are painted casts
of the famous statue. One at my door
like a street performer
silver mantle, silver eyes and skin.
In the Town Hall Information Zone
he is lapis lazuli. Face the color of clear sky
after sunset, body scrawled with white crotchets,
a blizzard of musical snow. At the end of a street
he used to race up laughing,
leading the pack, I see the Rhine
flickering like departure. Each chestnut tree
in a skirt of fallen leaves. Six immigrants asleep
in an arcade. Where the house once stood
are rows of little Beethovens, stamped on marzipan.
I see a small boy dashing through these alleys
to play for early Mass. Then sullen, dragging his feet
toward some grand door to teach a rich child piano.
His brothers are useless. The new babies die.
Father drinks his salary, Mother
has a temper too. Dry bread and fury
snap through the kitchen.
A boy in his bedroom, seed in the ground.
He’s strong but he’s little.
The heavy viola bangs his knees as he runs.