Preparing the Keys

Hand holding Key





A key, taken

From pocket or purse

Accepts preparation

For its purpose.

It’s as simple

(and as complicated)

As that.

Keys must be held in readiness

For what might lie between car door

Bus stop, sidewalk or helicopter pad

And home.

Two fingers hold the moment’s key

At the ready, prepared to either

Fit into the keyway

Or punch into an attacker’s sclera,

Vitreous humor spurting like filling

From a squeezed cream-filled pastry

The key striking like an enraged raptor.

This key is violent.

But there are others.

Some keys are prepared by ink laser-fed onto

Paper designated by symbol and alphabetic name:

A, Bb, D, F#, G and up and down the staff

And around the circle of fifths.

This preparation serves

A greater good: is freeing these keys from

Paper or mind or creative impulse to sound,

As tenuous and transparent as filmy absence

But as real and solid as granite

And again:

Keys as the absolute way to resolve difficulty

And become clarity

With codes, puzzles, essays, sports plays and cells of


And yet:

Key players, keystones, key situations, key states and key to the heart:

These are the keys and they are necessary (if not absolutely

key) to so much that, without them, we would not be.

It’s as simple

(And as complicated)

As that.


Dan Verner

February 10, 2016


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2 responses to “Preparing the Keys

  1. Ah, Dan. I’ll think about this poem when I unlock the visitor’s center in Selma today, and use it for a journal writing prompt. Here’s to all the key experiences in our lives!

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