This is my response to Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s essay “Cello,” accessed via TriQuarterly Online, an online literary journal.
Marzano-Lesnevich’s three-part lyric essay weaves a thread of part sadness and part longing. One of the vehicles that wove the thread was the cello: “its low tones not quite right, too close to a sob.” She longs for the love of someone who is already in a relationship; she is unable to begin her work in the library because her mind is filled with this person so completely. Another vehicle for the thread in this lyric essay is the poet Adam Zagajewski; the line from his poem describing a mutant violin is used several times to describe how she is feeling—”I am lonely. I cannot sleep.”
The detail that her images were bathed in really worked for her. Every scene—the library, the arms of a past lover, the cello, her swollen hands—carried the thread along delicately. I really enjoyed the read.