With Guitar in Hand
With guitar in hand I observe the green beetles bumbling about,
the way they careen and crash and flail aimlessly, but to a purpose.
Sometimes I attempt one note, only to strike another, or plucking
three strings simultaneously, focus on the discordant one,
which is, of course, me. How do we live the right song?
Which casual arrangement sends us plummeting to the grass,
hearts racing? I recall thinking “this cannot be,” yet could not,
would not, turn away. I bang out a minor seventh, sing a few
words, adjust my arthritic grip. Yesterday I couldn’t form
the chord shapes I desired. Today the hands float along the
fretboard, unimpeded. I wish you were here. I wish
I could shift time signatures with neurotransmissions,
that we were somewhere else, out of the way, alone
but for birds chirping in the branches by the window.
I wish my flawed tunes could merge with moonlight
and compose pearlescent pieces, and that you would
sing them to me from the threshold of our shared lives. I want
everything, but cherish what we can hold in these wondrous
times. I think of your hair and eyes, how my heart
flutters to the floor and refuses to rise until your smile
unwraps the day’s gift to me, defying Newton’s third law,
offering unheard chords. I listen to your silences, as I do
your words, knowing the value of each. Gazing at your
photo, I speak your name, set down the guitar. Make music.
“With Guitar in Hand” was originally published in the print anthology Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love in February 2019.