Practice Makes Perfect

by on May 9, 2017

mother intoned,
thumping time on the side of the piano
with her ruler
while I struggled at the keys.
So I practiced the art of magic
(deception, we shall call it)
like  turning water to ice under a silk scarf,
and coaxing my mad dogs under the table
to silence their whimper.
They, accustomed to spaces
dark and deep, began to sleep.

Once in a dream
I carried a dead child on my shoulders
as I crept down the night hall
to the stygian mirror,  expecting to see
a snarling beast with plundered eyes.
But there was no image
in the silvered shadows.
The hair on the backs of the dogs
began to rise.

But practice makes
While I practiced the art of the silk scarf,
and perfected the image of coolness,
the mad dogs rose, growled
and shook their chains.


Elizabeth Vrenios has had poetry featured in such online poetry columns as: Clementine, Kentucky Review, Form Quarterly, Scissors and Spackle and in issues of The Binnacle, Poeming Pidgeon Unsplendid and The Edison Review. Her prize-winning chapbook, Special Delivery was published by Yellow Chair Press in the spring of 2016.  She is a Professor Emerita from American University, and has spent most of her life performing as a singing artist across Europe and the United States.