I built my cello of spruce and wormwood,
sawing away on trestles in the basement,
shaping and shaving, gluing and tuning,
dirt beneath shoes, timbers overhead,
walls of old stone around me.
Underground I spread my stain
over pale spruce, carved my scroll,
stretched vines for wires.
Fingertips over wire and wood,
I leaned into my cello for meaning.
Down in the basement, surrounded by stone,
I sawed on my cello with a spiderweb bow,
a music fit for the ears of silverfishes,
wet noses of voles, old damp stones,
deep is the place where we sing.
We would keep the fans going in August,
my wife and I, for the nest was empty
and the droning was our music. Each fan
sang a different pitch, one note only,
though the oscillating job varied.
The big blue one in the kitchen was bassy,
moved the most air, and we sat in its spell,
just the two of us, eating too much in the empty house.
How we grew fat was no mystery,
we were in thrall to loneliness, and fed our stale bread
to the geese at the reservoir. A raccoon lived there
who would wade out and steal from the geese, and he reminded me
of our youngest. He held my heart in his hands
as he chewed the wet bread, and I thanked him.
I was glad he lived at the base of the spillway
and waited for me with my plastic bag.
The rush of water over the low head dam a drone,
a constant, like geese eating green grass.
How it broke up waiting for phone calls, so infrequently
punctuating the dull music of fans, monotonous years of adjustment.
Thatís how we did it, grew fat with the necks and beaks,
our youngest out there, midstream, stealing the hearts of us all.
it's always been
time enough to read the new yorker
on a rainy afternoon smoke a
costa rican strum a vintage gibson
sitting on the lowboy white cat red rose
bud vase scrabble tiles cup of black oolong
travel is the dream for some its always been
time for me to linger turn the page
in love with all my ideas your smile the prize
thats hey nineteen turn it up a little
my idea of heaven on a saturday
even if i have to smoke it on the patio
©2014 by Andy Roberts
Andy Roberts lives in Columbus, Ohio where he handles finances for disabled veterans. Recent publications include Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, and Slipstream. His latest chapbook, The Green World, was published by Night Ballet Press in March 2014. His poetry has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize three times.