Saturday, March 19, 2022

Playing the Guitar

I caress the smooth neck over and over
and wrap my arm around the contours of the body,

the curves cradled as in a passionate scene from a movie.
My fingers sensuously dance up and down the wires—

press, hold, release, spread, reach.
My right hand strums or picks—

thumb, then index and middle fingers
doing a slow waltz or a spicy tarantella.

Occasionally my left moves to the twelfth fret
to chime the high steel into cathedral bells

on the far side of a distant mountain
or a single note from the music of the spheres,

the touch lighter than the beat of a butterfly’s wing.
Do not worry, m’lady.

I will explore the full range of your melodies,
though I must cajole and charm since you are mute

when you take to your soft, casket-like bed.
I finish with a downstroke—an arpeggio, a flourish—

and listen to the choir fade
or simply mute the strings with my left hand,

my right floating away with silent reverence.
The guitar has yielded all it had to give,

and so have I.
I turn out the light and then sleep,

dreaming of the music in a voice,
the curves of a body folded into mine.

Playing is very much like making love,
or so a distant memory tells me.

~William Hammett

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