Issue 7 :: Spring 2005  
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John Rybicki

The Violin now, my God the Violin

Lord, you nail your angels down
in such a fleshy house.

We're all hides and heads
mounted in a sky

that scrolls itself away from us.
We just want to lie down

in our own blood
at night and float.


Days we find the violin
washed up: we try it and it floats.

It makes a fine house.
We remember the strings that stretched

from our mother's navel
to her throat.

The way we'd pluck them
with a broom handle

over our heads
dusting for cobwebs.


The tablecloths are so white
and pretty here,

when we're not scraping
skyscrapers off our plates.

Now our bodies live
in the water. We try to remember

the rowing out of her
that produced this ache.

In the cafeteria, we dip our spoons
into our bowls of soup.

It's dusty at the bottom
if, say, you carve a violin

out of a woman's


You sow the soil
in the musty hull of our boat.

Some prefer cherry trees
in their violins for climbing.

Nights at the football games
are lovely too: you trample the stands

with the rest of the herd,
swallow the halogen lights.

You are powerful.
You have a violin at home and it floats.

Strange fish thump
against your walls: proof

that a mother's heart goes on


Of course, your violin leaks
when it rains. The rain taps all night

into your coffee cups,
your chamber pots.

You feel like drowning
each night, don't you?

You line your walls with socks,
and your arms fall like vines

all over the floor.
Photo credit: Corel