Elegy for a Coffin in the Shape of a Guitar
There are sicknesses that cure the sick.
Why else do people smile as they crawl
into your cabinet which is, after all,
a place that shudders with a kind of music.
The body, we call it, your figure almost human,
a thing made curvaceous as a question,
full of the tremors of revival, but then
again, a little bit dead. Think of heaven,
how the more we age, the more we fret,
the more a body withers into bloom.
That's how it is with tone-wood. In time
the sound hole ripens to a great black fruit.
Granted, yours is painted there, but open
to suggestion. What do you expect,
that you would lead us to the spectacle.
Better to be our last, our best illusion,
as if the fetishes we love to death
grow monstrous with our love and eat us.
Silly, the way that monsters are, the lust
that overtakes the instruments of flesh,
the bewildered lust that makes us young.
And so we give you to the earth, to sing
the planet into circles, like skirts that fling
inside some childhood memory of song.
We entrust you not to the autumn leaves
but to something less material,
to the music enveloping a cradle
or a grave, the final make-believe
of what we bend our knees to hear. We love
you like a rhythm that fades inside us,
our eyes closed beneath the maples, the fist
that is the heart we swallow, buried alive.