I know it must have something to do
with the counterpoint,
the separate strands of melody interweaving,
the simultaneous motions, nimble as
multiple mice running mazes.
Why she likes this, I can guess
because I, myself, have a thing for toccatas.
While she listens, her ears perk up
whether it’s harpsichord or organ
or Frescobaldi played on a small string band.
And, yes, she’ll also chase a small piece of string,
pursuing and pouncing on the wriggling
as if it were a snake or an escaping strand
She likes plain fugues and canons less
for reasons I’m not quite sure
except that I, myself, also prefer toccatas
to fugues or canons.
Sometimes, for a really good toccata
by Boellmann, Bach, or Gigout
I turn the volume way up,
and even the spiders seem to enjoy it,
up in the corners of the room
where they weave their webs of fine-spun silk
while the tip of the cat’s tail rises and falls,
rises and falls,
sinuous as a conductor’s baton.