The Black Guitar

Clearing out ten years from a wardrobe
I opened its lid and saw Joe
written twice in its dust, in a child’s hand,
then a squiggled seagull or two.

Joe, Joe

a man’s tears are worth nothing,
but a child’s name in the dust, or in the sand
of a darkening beach, that’s a life’s work.

I touched two strings, to hear how much
two lives can slip out of tune

then I left it,
brought down the night on it, for fear, Joe
of hearing your unbroken voice, or the sea
if I played it.

– Paul Henry

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