by Jeff Seffinga,
Ontario, Canada

she watches my fingers strut and stumble
on the double strings behind slender frets

tones struck whether muffled or clear flutter
from the sound hole to her plectrum-shaped ears

she sits intent but unmoving as if posing
for an ebony statuette buried with a Pharaoh

the instrument set aside lies on a low table
she sits before it in silence, in deep meditation

almost unbreathing and holy before a high altar
common speech is an intrusion, is blasphemy

in the night I know she makes love to the mandolin
sliding the shape of her body along its curves

in the morning it wears no cat hair, only the glow of a well-used instrument, well-satisfied

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