Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Violinist: A Poem of my Mother

The Violinist:
A Poem of my Mother

Loose skinned fingers
boned and spotted
hold the slender neck of the violin
amber and singing.
Her jaw is set,
chin tucked down
into the hollow 
of her shoulder.
It pains her-
her twisted neck aches
and not with the beauty of the melody.
But she plays on,
bird bright eyes
warm as chocolate
fixed on the window
ignoring the yellowed book of notes.
She is dressed in concert best
black velvet unmarred
by dust or cat fur,
and brightly colored crystal
hand strung by her loose skinned fingers
gleams at her neck.
The woodwork of the baby grand beside her
shines like the sunlight
that falls on our green and blue faded floor rug
in the center of whitewashed walls.
She is as lined
as the music staff.
Laugh and frown lines crease her,
crease her face, as soft as mohair yarn
and blushed as rose pink
as the baby blanket she held me in.
Oh, my mother,
she draws the bow
draws a breath
and watching,
I breathe too.
This is an early evening
 private practice
more ritual than necessity
a rough draft.
I love the soaring,
singing sound
the crescendo strings
that wail and waver
but don’t seem to stop
just spill into each other
just like her loose skinned fingers
that dance on ebony
and amber.
With a flourish,
she finishes
and sighs
sets down her music,
touches her tender neck,
the sunset setting the room
and glossed brown hair
and wire rimmed glasses
on fire,
as amber-orange gleaming
as the violin,
as bright
as her smile
when she sees me,
hands folded together over my breast.
I never tire of listening,
of the music
that pours from her whole self.
But she does.
She is weary and drained
loose skinned 
as lined as the music she plays
but just as beautiful.
And so she sets away the violin
and enfolds me in her arms.

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