Double Duty

By: John Grey

musicalsaw

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.

 

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