This story is paired with “The Pied Piper” from Children’s and Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 


Each player in Haydn’s
“Farewell Symphony”
leaves the stage when

that musician’s part is
done as the notes grow
few, fainter until music

ends and lights go out.
In the story of Hamelin
the townspeople won’t

pay once all the rats are
drowned so Pied Piper
beguiles their children

with his flute but a lame
boy can’t follow on his
crutch, left alone there

in a city of adults. My
cousin’s father’s Great
Dane, a Harlequin, ran

away and one year later
limped past the house.
The hungry stray knew

his lost master, recalled
his whistle, then growled
and tried to bite. Listen

to Aunt Lila’s seashell,
hold the ball Babe Ruth
gave to her at Shriner’s

Hospital in 1923. Hear
old waves as full white
moon sinks yellow, tan,

scarlet. In the pure dark
dimmer stars shine now
and another music starts.


nels-hansonNels Hanson’s fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, Pushcart Prize nominations in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review and other journals. Poems appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pavilion, and other magazines, and are in press at Pacific Review, Carnival, Sharkpack Review Annual, Gravel, and The Mad Hatter’s Review