My neighbor, the famous pianist,
has gotten ever sicker the past two years,
his body has slowly shrunk
as if he were hiding himself from the world
and somewhere, with trembling hands,
holding onto a concealed
center of life.
And then one day
he entrusted me
with his apartment keys.
He had to go into the hospital
for an operation
and he asked me
to take care of his two vases
in the window.
"I can bring them to my place,"
"No, no," he stammered.
"The piano has to live with somebody."
He hung his head
and added as if embarrassed,
"If you have time, it would be good
if once a week, in the evening,
you could just sit for a moment
by the piano."
(from Der Finfter Zman, CYCO Farlag, 2008. Original Yiddish here. Translation mine.)