Mandolin in White Wood, Inlay

by Joshua Brown


With the double barrel breached
_____amid the honeysuckle,
___his trigger finger cracks

___another beer. The fields,
_____beyond our hidey-hole
in the woodbine, sink, this dawn,

_____in biting light.  Mute,
mostly, my father speaks—
___position your arms to waltz

___the gun is the girl and lay
your cheek to her—
by God,
_____I listen.  His fiddle clenched

_____in the bend of his neck creaks
like a stair-step, the can
___between his thighs rucks

as he scuffs the horsehair
___across a rosin cake.
_____At the ready, he holds

___his fiddle like I do the gun.
_____The strings tug from the gut
an organ-bellowed honk

and snow geese, they come,
_____yoked to it.  Lead the sight
___
ahead the goose.  At the up-

___beat of its wings, shoot.
His wrist flicks and shuffles
_____the call again and then

___my flash of birdshot routs
_____the gaggle overhead
of two—mother-of-pearl

___and lung blood in the black
veneer of a cotton field,
_____inlaid herringboned.


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