Nashville, Secondhand

by Stephen Harvey

Double-tiered and parked in parallel,
Guitars of every kind hang by their necks
Along the wall. Convulsively, one sings
As a studio musician rubs the strings
Into a climax of electric sex,
Crying out like echoes in a well
Of metal stairs. The indiscretion lingers
Briefly in the belly of a steel
Guitar near me; I lift it like a shell
And listen for the stories it could tell
Of smoke-filled honky-tonks, indulge the feel
Of rusted strings against my clumsy fingers,
And, when no one is looking, softly strum
Along the neck for songs that never come.

Stephen T. Harvey is an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University. His poetry has recently been published in JAMA. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Sara, and daughter, Hanna.
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Pat Jones
Published 2 January 2011