Poem Hunter
In The Key Of F
JW (10.28.65 / Iowa)

In The Key Of F

Poem By Joseph Wilford

Tom said:
“Car horns honk in the key of F.”
I laughed, but I believed him.

I have a good ear.
Tom’s ear was even better.
He could identify the sound of each number
on a touch-tone phone.

When I moved to the city
I called him.
“Guess my new phone number, ” I said, and punched in the numbers.
He identified all but 2 digits
then corrected himself.

I have a good ear. That always amazed me.

Tom’s not around anymore.
At age 31, he was killed by a train.
I don't know whether he heard the train's whistle or not
though it wouldn't have mattered.
He lay in a diabetic coma upon the tracks.
I often wonder what key train whistles blow in.
I lie awake at night and wish Tom was here so we could discuss that.

I will test his theory
in a car with my guitar.
An F chord.
Honk the horn, Tom.


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Comments (1)

Yes, it's true, now I think about it; car horns do honk in the key of F, but I thought it was just the note F rather than an F chord, and if that is true it hardly seems intelligible to say that they are in the *key* of F (F major I presume) . G or B flat or anything else other than F would seem wrong somehow. I wonder why they are tuned to the pitch they are tuned to. At least, that's what I think — unless it's a side-effect of reading your poem. I like your poem, by the way.