The Guitar of Solitude

 

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The guitar of solitude leans on the bookshelf,
its strings loose. It’s out of tune.
Blond wood, near-perfect fingerboard,
It calls to me, mostly in the evening
After a Lenten supper of soup and bread,
No wine, water with lemon, or weak tea—
The guitar says, turn these knobs, make
My strings taut again, press your
Fingers against my wire strings, start
With something simple, like Where
Have All the Flowers Gone, move on
To rock and roll, play a riff from
Smoke on the Water or Whole
Lotta Love, come on baby, rock me
All night long, won’t you?
But there’s laundry,
Bill-paying, taking out compost,
a race to the end of the day
Chores, flossing, baby aspirin, set
The alarm. The guitar leans back
Rakishly.   Maybe tomorrow.

 

Lynne Viti

 

Reprinted from 63 Channels, April 2016

 

Making Love to You Was Like Peeling

 

Making love to you was like peeling
An onion. I teared up, holding the knife’s edge
Against paper-thin layers, pulled them
Away, one by one by one. I knew I must
Get to the tender parts of you, underneath.
Making love to you was like scraping
The hairy root vegetables, bright carrots,
The pale parsnips, the knife blade flat
Against the tubers- I needed strong hands
To hold you, to interlace my fingers with yours
To show you how desperate I was.
At night, after sex, I should have been exhausted
But I heard you turn on the shower, call
To me to join you. Afterward, I enfolded you in
A rose-colored towel big enough for two.
It was  like rinsing tender lettuces in the sink,
Wrapping them in cloth to dry.

 

Lynne Viti

 

Reprinted from 63 Channels, April 2016 issue

Homage to Spring If It Ever Gets Here Really

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The tulips and daffodils—the brave ones not damaged by a sub-freezing snap they suffered a few weeks ago—are in full bloom, in a cold daylong rain. Even the second-year tulips, from bulbs I bought at a discount hardware store, are shouting with color.The columbine ‘s foliage is appearing, and the bee balm, until now just dead sticks in the ground leftover from the past summer, are producing small green leaves lined with burgundy veins.

Still, it feels more like February than late April, and we still sleep under the automatic blanket and a down comforter. We haven’t pulled the tempered glass table top out of storage, so the old wrought iron table on the deck sits there looking like a weather-beaten objet d’art.

Downed branches snapped off by  last month’s high winds, dandelions shooting up in the lawn along with lumps of crabgrass, tender shoots of clematis –these things are ample evidence that spring may be approaching, even if we still wear our down jackets, hats and gloves—and maybe even thermal underwear under our jeans— to Fenway for a night game.

I found a rabbit’s nest in the garden nearest our bedroom: at first I took it for a bird’s nest that might have plummeted from the tall arbor vitae nearby the row of nine-foot trees my neighbor calls “the bird hotel.”  But the layer of soft fuzzy hair, patched with dried grass and small twigs, were no bird’s nest, but a circular furry quilt over a hole dug between a speedwell and a blanket flower. Once I had touched the cover the doe had woven to protect her babies, I realized I had sullied it, and I might as well pitch it into the compost, because my human scent was all over the place. I left hoping it was too cold for bunnies.

The ice cream stand at the other end of town has been open for weeks now, but when I drove by two weeks ago, no lines formed at the outside window.

I’ve tried to store my winter coats twice, only to pull them out from the upstairs closet full of cedar blocks to keep the moths away. I look at the snow shovels and the ice melt in the garage with a jaundiced eye.

Even in the cold April morning, the birds start their song before dawn, and the chipmunks dash in and out of the garden’s stone wall. We’ll know spring is here for sure when the compost starts steaming and cooking in the covered bins at the very back of the yard, when we can sit outside and have our morning coffee before hustling off to start the work day.  Tonight, it’s 38, but we hope not for long.

I can’t wait to file down the nasturtium seeds with an emery board and plant them in the big terra cotta pots

 

Girl, With Eyelash Curler

images                                                                                                          For Fran

The teacher left the room for five minutes
and with algebra book splayed open on the desk
You reached into your purse
and withdrew a Maybelline eyelash curler
A medieval cage contraption, only in miniature.
You artfully, dramatically
manipulated your already-curly lashes.
With each squeeze of that instrument of beauty torture
you opened your other eye wide, peering over
at those near you. Who could resist
that fake look of surprise you’d mastered?
Who didn’t envy those large anterior chambers,
blue eyes expressive, half-sad, half-joyful?
First, two or three of us near you noticed,
then in concentric circles
your fandom grew till we were all
barely able to hold in laughter—
Some of it slipped out in giggles, then
just when we were all about to erupt
into rows of laughter—
Sister walked back into the room.

All was silent.
Heads down, we pretended to solve the equation.
You quickly slipped the eyelash curler
Into your handbag.
You kept a look of absolute seriousness on your face–
Seriousness belied by the devilish gleam of your eye.

Girl, you were so damn funny.

Lynne Viti

 

Reprinted fron The LongLeaf Pine, April 2016

“Weeding the Bittersweet”

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Sneaked in from Australia or Asia, settling
wherever it could, not minding poor soil,
rocks, sand, clay. Conquered woodland and garden.
We used to love the bright orange berries
popping from their yellow shells.
We used
to cut it
at the roadside.

Across her dashboard,
one of my housemates
strewed the stuff, the berries
would dry out and roll around, fall into our laps….

[Read the rest here].


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