Issue 16.4 – Poetry

Issue 16 - Poetry (8)

I was tuning up and knew

today’s the day

flat, unchanged note

the steel string twanged sharp and snapped


I can’t remember when it was new

when had I last made love to my nude guitar

all 12 strings unwound from keys now

draped to the floor – her 12 pegs rooted just below the bridge

into a voluptuous grand body of curves.

Somewhat tarnished, the wrapped golds and bronze wire

were highlighted by the silver of Es and Bs

Metallic sweetgrass cascades

from her high gloss sunburst body


I am stunned by her nakedness

The Rosewood fingerboard – exposed to touch

fret bars scored from pressures of play

and stretch of strings to bend blue notes of sorrow

These strings of hair brushed aside

she lays waiting for the nuance

excepting her vulnerable state,

agreeing to the relationship our marriage

of needing each other and resonance of spirit



and touch

to touch her in places that her tough taut strings normally shielded

Sacred exposure

a demystification that only compounds the mystery of vulnerability

Oh, the places we have travelled-


Inside her belly she harbors birch bark guitar picks

made just for me in 1979

signed by 10 year old Don Don

who accompanied me on flute – we’d improvise

and with a group of rag tag kids

Malecite, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and one Cherokee

we canoed to an island in Mud Lake

where the harmonics of my lover’s 12 strings graced us without campfire

just crickets, frogs, waves and sticks on sticks, stone on stone

the Ancestors made music through us

She was young then, in her vibrato of life

between stones and Princess Pine, balsam and peace



we all slept deep that night on the earth

our bodies sunk into thick moss

and the bosomed cradle of a mother’s hum



letting her hair down

those metal strands arced like bridging cables to hallowed ground

I hear her breathe a sigh – a release – a relief –

from the tensions of expectations to perform

to bear witness and hold keys tuned – accountable –


She wants me to touch her in this way

a rare moment to recollect- to orbit my fingers around

her sound hole circling the open O of her heart


The palm of my hand feels a breeze of sound as wind

as coolness and something in me remembers the caves of Andalusia

amplification of the earth

and she sings from her heart.  I comb her strings

that braid naturally – the spun metal

I have fed my flesh and blood for 40 years


Her magnificence

her aging wood, darker, seasoned

Oh, how the men wanted her after hearing

the power of her Universe

and asked to play her just once

in silence

they always handed her back to me knowing

that a soul has many pieces

and if we’re lucky

we find the ones that make us whole

EVC (1)Suzanne Rancourt is Abenaki/Huron decent, born and raised in the mountains of West Central Maine currently residing in the Adirondack Mountains, NY. She has work appearing in Young Ravens Literary ReviewTupelo Press Native Voices Anthology, Bright Hill Press 25th Anniversary Anthology, Bright Hill Press 25th Anniversary Anthology, Dawnland Voices 2.0 #4Northern New England ReviewBear ReviewThree Drops PressSnapdragon Journal, mgversion2>daturaSirsee, SlipstreamCollections of Poetry and Prose issues War, and Empowerment, Muddy River Poetry ReviewGinosko, Journal of Military Experience, Cimarron ReviewCallaloo, numerous anthologies, translations, and text books. Her book, Billboard in the Clouds was the winner of the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award and murmurs at the gate is scheduled for release May 2019.  Ms. Rancourt is a USMC and USA veteran.

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