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‘Playing Your Guitar’

Because my stairwell still creaks with your step
and your door snaps shut and your cold must swells
the air that trips my every breath. Because

I wallow in the contradictions of grief, where you stood,
you stand, where you cannot be. Because heaven
gives hell a shell loss cracks in absolutions or conceits,

I see without the fate of seeing. I see you one last time
and touch your hand, your head, the way I never had.
I hold you twisted from the black script of your death,

and speak  to every word you never said — your ink and lead,
your empty room,  alive and dead with you, a dark sheet,
an old shoe, a window frozen blue,  a note my sound

chokes on, a trigger, a tune,  an answer. I’m mute. Because
my chords  strum dissolution, too. Fretted and gone,
that song that long before I sang, I mourned.



Sophia Galifianakis teaches at the University of Michigan.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several journals, including Plume Poetry, The Greensboro Review, Spillway, and Mezzo Cammin. 

“Margie Piercy wrote in her poem ‘All Gone’ that “when you forget you feel guilty/and when you remember, you want to forget.”  I think my poem is very much driven by that pattern, which is probably why it flowed so naturally from Miriam Gamble’s wonderful  class, and her assignment on the use of repetition. This poem deals with the loss of my step-son who took his life two years ago.”


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Image: Riccardo Cuppini