Books Reviews

Double Duty

By: John Grey


He plays a musical saw
because it’s the easiest instrument to learn
and he can sit it on his lap,

rub a bow across the blade
and, before you know it,
out comes a plaintive ballad

that, despite the strange instrumentation,
a listener might even recognize –
it shimmers and it howls,

it even sounds like a coyote weeping –
and when he’s done
he’ll use that very same saw to cut

oak panels for the shelving he’s constructing –
and he has a kettle
that heats water and blows like a flute

and a washboard that scrubs the clothes
in the family tradition
while it also doubles as a percussion instrument –

not forgetting a wife who’s also a maid
and a goddamn lazy son who’s flesh and flood one minute
and something that’s just lying there in two pieces the next

yes, he has a saw –
a cutting saw for what’s getting to him
when a musical saw won’t do.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Midwest Quarterly.



Categories: Books Reviews

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