Practicing My Scales

July 17, 2014

When I learned my first scale at 45 I knew I would never rip loose and free like the pros who started as teenagers, when time didn’t matter and practicing was just another form of play.

When I learned my first scale at 45

I knew I would never rip loose and free

like the pros who started as teenagers,

when time didn’t matter and practicing

was just another form of play. While their

fingers explored the fret board’s mystery

I studied the music of Medicine, struggling

to find the melody in a patient’s history,

to sing it to teachers who seemed to know

the score of every disease by heart.

Ten thousand patients later, I see

a woman for evaluation, and she asks

about my orientation-Freud, Jung

psychopharmacology? And I play a riff,

a little tune that fits her story’s minor key

but contains a few notes of hope.

And we both feel the rhythm

in my reply, seated in mirror images,

nodding together, keeping time.