Guarding the Violins

by Misty Harper

selected by Charles Simic



Around June she broke
her thumb from there
it all fell apart it was
a time of fancy clouds
like a circle I lost
my place she cut
my hair crooked and
I smiled to match it
I called her Hula
called myself Hoop
I brought a pink bow
and a black arrow and shot
it at fog and the scent of her
the faux parliamentary wig
had been passed down
generations though sons
but her mother and her
mother's sisters and brothers
had only daughters
so it fell to her whose jaws
were wide she thought
I would want to hold
the flowers she put
in the rat trap but I just knelt
to smell them and look close
to see if they were smudged
already with the discoloration
of remembering dirt et cetera
her Aunt Sue had eight girls trying
for a boy that's how much
she wanted the wig my Hula
threw out a train window saying
the sunrise was bald

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