in the middle of the night my mother's old flute puts herself together
bone by bone. glint of metal
in window-born street light.
a your face in the dark. sliver teeth.
laugh full of air. i tell the device
to go back to sleep & instead
she puts herself to my mouth
& tells me to blow. i'm thinking of
the light under your door. i'm coming home
to a slice of glow & no one else is you.
one of my forearm bones
is a flute. i can feel the keys underskin.
the flute is the second most feminine instrument
(right after the violin) & when i play
sometimes my dresses arrive
one by one at the door. sway & hold sleeves
with one another. other nights
birds come to watch through the window
like a television. it is lonely
to be mature in the dead of night
with no song to request. what did you ever
know about me? i have the sheet music
as evidence. i have a folded metal music stand
to help the flute make it through.
i don't miss you at all anymore but i wish
you could see this.
the flutes have enough whimsy
for all of us. there is no orchestra.
the orchestra is an old idea
that died with the last frog.
my mom used to play flute for the ghost
of her dead father until he snapped open
like a locket. i don't mind the past.
the flute wants to make hallways of every fissure.
you are a towel to be folded. i place
a flute on your chest. cool metal touch.
i'm going to imagine you
as an opening to be tongued & played.
goodbye melody & marrow.
i love you like instruments love
their own sound. like a flute can sound
exactly like humming. all the dresses crumple
& sleep. the flute takes herself apart
one by one. slides back
into her box. i tenderly press keys
beneath my flesh.