The Violin Maker

The Violin Maker

awakes and heats his glue
in a coffee can rigged on a hotplate.
He is aged and stiff like his wood
piles of it stacked and waiting

spruce special ordered from Ohio
oak pieces from a broken table
salvaged while fishing in Alaska.
He smells the glue and sawdust

scattered on the breakfast table
fine dust on a Stradivarius book
next to a bridge and sound post.
Perched in the kitchen’s high places

yet unsafe from his Siamese cat
violin pieces, his children
wait their turn at his hands
now mottled, knobbed and hurting.

Today he hollows flitches of wood
thumping and shaping thin strips
dissimilar split personalities
even when cut from one tree.

He strikes them with his fist and listens
some pieces resonate tone
others sound dull and die.
He cleaves them with just dispensation.

Over lunch with the squirrels and jays
He uses fine light to carve scrolls
the blade as one with his fingers
shaping the spiral of Vignola.

He varnishes in late afternoon
when the wind dies down and blesses
the marriage of wood and spirits
amber cast up by the Baltic Sea
gathered in nets at ebb tide
the scarlet of cochineal
dragon’s blood from Amazon trees
colors shouting cherry and rose.

The aroma awakens the cat
weaving and binding his feet
figure eights of curiosity and jealousy
her rhythms like songs from his children

performing in operas across the world
Turandot at the Berlin Symphony
Tosca at the London Philharmonic
and in his presence a week from Sunday,
in the hands of a concertmaster,
Aida at the Boston Pops.

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I was a nominee in 2006 for Oklahoma Poet Laureate. I've been published in ten literary journals and have four published novels at My photos have been published in The Oklahoman and Norman Living.I am a retired creative person, with poetry and photography heading the list. As a 30-year cancer survivor, I enjoy volunteering at hospice and encouraging cancer victims. I am blessed with family and friends. I'm a free life member of Weight Watchers. I'm also a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, from which I received undergraduate and graduate degrees.
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