Instruments of my aquaintance


The innocence of children. ‘Miss can play!’

The costumed man proffered to me his lute.

They’d seen me with guitar; I played three chords

and those not well. I smiled but told him, ‘No.’




Cavemen fashioned flutes from hollow bones.

Later, wood and ivory were the norm

and, later still, base metal, silver, gold

or platinum for those who could afford

such luxury. One Boehm devised a system

perfecting tuning, easing rapid runs

and I, at fourteen, blew across milk bottles

before I had my own. Contralto voice

then soared to heights that only larks could reach

sweet, pure soprano sang to paradise.




‘Lanikai makes me happy!’ the leaflet boasts.

A smiling man proudly displays his uke

beneath a palm tree. A cloudless sky

backgrounds his pose, his head sports

a red and green garland. Rash, red flowers

dance on my walls. Grubby, green carpet

grows beneath my feet. Golden sun drapes

from curtain rail and golden sand sofa

warms my aching limbs. I pose the chord chart

on rigid red stand. Contralto voice,

baritone strings, fumbling fingers.

Lanikai makes me happy.

First published in Sarasvati



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