All We Need Is This

Photograph by Jose Padua
This afternoon right before
my daughter stands up to play
at her piano recital,
I turn to her and say,
“If you’re nervous just pretend
that everyone in the audience has
six fingers on each hand.
You’ll feel better.”
Over the years I have been comforted
from nervousness and fear
and sometimes worse,
by the notion of my enemies,
rivals, competitors,
and audiences of varying size,
hindered by a useless, extra,
parasitic digit.
“It’s all about not having things
you don’t need,” I tell her later,
“because what we don’t need
won’t help us.”
Neither great wealth
nor unwieldy objects can hand us
the notes or words
or dexterous touch
to play or sing our songs,
because all we need is this.
So we lift our chins,
we hold our notes,
and together we sing
a song as we sit across
the table from each other
under the warm dining room light.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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