Unable to sleep, you rebuild a guitar in your mind,
the shapely round-shouldered requinto
you spent all October constructing.
You find some nicely quartered cedar,
billets of palisander, camphor,
pear, zebrano, bearclaw spruce
and Indonesian rosewood, cool
and oily, heavy in the hand
and smelling of remoteness.
You thin the panels with a toothed plane,
and strike them with your thumb to hear the tone.
You light a fire in an iron pipe
and bend the wood around it, all the while
cocking an ear to sounds that might be in there,
music you would like to hear it play.
Your glue is from the skin of a rabbit,
your polish from the resinous secretions
of the Assamese lac beetle,
you have robbed the world for this,
are the hours of your life in solid form,
the liquid shapelessness of your days
grown into a kind of crystal,
and when it is played,
you can say: I have been intimate
with some small certainty,
a member of truth’s ill-sorted family.
Whatever else, there is this.
Then, still unable to sleep,
you come down the stairs in the dark
holding a pillow under your arm,
groping around for the couch,
and someone who does not need to be named
has left your high-strung handmade baby
helpless on the floor,
and what you hear in the dark is
chik, ktch and ktang.
Lifting your foot
to pull out the slivers
you have to think, what
can be salvaged from this?
So, inevitably, you search through the wreckage
looking for poetry.