By Jeffrey Alfier
By Jeffrey Alfier

By Elder Zamora

Dear Child,

And I do hope you are child, a child innocent and ignorant of the world,
who does not now that sharp sounds travel well through the stucco canyons
of apartment complex facades, who cannot begin to suspect that last night,
the bearded man who lives upstairs spent the better part
struggling with his own demons, struggling with stacks of paperwork,
struggling with Netflix and that today that man is suffering,
trying to sleep-in as he attempts vainly to muffle your melody with a pillow.
As he tries to pretend that the clumsy movements of your obviously
stubby fingers will not ruin his Saturday (and oh yes, I can hear their stubbiness).

I hope you are a child because for a child I can find within myself some
bit of forgiveness, I can overlook your contempt for the gravity of the
hang-over, I can look past your day-break discourtesies, I can find understanding
in your youthful vigor for what you consider to be, music.

But child, or man, or woman, there is no forgiveness, there can be no clemency for the
basic disregard of sense, when you chose to pick up that most bastard of wooden flutes,
that malformation of the woodwinds, ugly near-sighted cousin to the tin-whistle,
you chose to wander down the darkest of Baroque roads, so that we here are, together
agonizing through scales and missed octaves.

I suspect you will remain ignorant, as you have remained ignorant for the last five or six
weeks since we became unlikely and unwilling compatriots in this melodic exercise.
Ignorant of the struggle that I feel as a grown man, when I look at the clock at 9:30am
on a Sunday morning, midway through your blighting of some Hendel sonata, and lament
silently, knowing that I have been unjustly robbed of at least two more hours of sleep.

And perhaps it is impudence that drives you, neighbor, well aware that your demon
contraption has not enjoyed status or popularity since the 18th century, perhaps it that
which allows you to rise with the dawn, to intentionally remind us church evaders,
late risers, one-night stand regreters, that there are celestial consequences for our sleep-lust.

So perhaps we will go on, me with my pillow clenched tightly around my head, you, proverbial
angel of melodic repercussion. Perhaps we will go on and on and on, until one day, with no announcement, your fingers will find those notes, the notes will find a tempo, and we will, all of
us, the residents of the northwest section of Mountain View Apartment homes, come together
in atonement and harmony, as was your intended purpose all along, and together, chorally proclaim:

“Alas, my love, you do me wrong,
To cast me off discourteously.
For I have loved you well and long,
Delighting in your company.”

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