"Note 17" & "Note 35"

Credit: Sara Messinger

Note 17, 02:43pm

Like the hand of Rachmaninoff.

Frank O’Hara knew it too. It is said they were
big and imposing; he said of his hands, as you
said of yours, yours as if mine; mine at the
keys. Hang hovering, they tremble, at those
very same keys. For I live to please you at
another recital.

In errant desire, a song leaves its note. Father,
love is just a stray strand of hair wrapping your
index finger, but believe me it’s taut as a

Note 35, 12:09pm

Loving you: an encyclopaedia of bruises.
On the phone, I nibble a hangnail for lunch,
skin crawling like a mollusc desperate to save
itself from drowning. (All but quickly.) Your
compliments are ticklish, your supplication

A boil roars for its tone-deaf kettle. To this my
reflection dances in the fork’s shredded smile.

Elaine Tam

is an itinerant curator and sometimes-writer based in London.

All contributions from Elaine Tam

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