Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Guitar Lessons

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Returning from outside chores, I open the door
And find the old guitar case pilfered from the closet

And my boy now strumming, intent on wrenching
The most noise out of each string. His eyes closed

In concentration. A rock star, live, on his own.
Quit the racket! I yell, grabbing the guitar

From his hands, showing him how to cradle it gently
To run his fingers up the frets, pressing out the tune.

I sing for him to count beats out. He nods with patience
As he listens to the studied, perfect chords.

And then the tears begin -- welling in his eyes
They roll silently down his cheek, the damage done

A curtain call to something we could share. Now
I see: I am one of those who drive magic far from home.

I put the guitar gently back in its case, to join
The cobwebs, out of sight. His words,

Why do we always have to do things right?
Why can't we do it, just for fun?

Are neither sharp, nor staccato. They ring true
As minors do; some striking chords stay with you.


Carolyn Harris Zukowski is an American poet living in Český Krumlov, Czech Republic. Ten years ago, Literary Mama was one of the first places to accept her poetry. Since then, she’s earned an MA and MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). She owns award-winning Krumlov House & Write Away. When she’s not doing laundry, walking the dog, or welcoming guests to her hostel, she’s editing her manuscript and redecorating her now empty nest.


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