I questioned love, twenty-one,
lost in the swelter of a St. Louis
summer, seeking cool
in Soulard bars where a rave-eyed
music man stoked guitar.
My downfall: his Mississippi
riverboat calluses and all, fingered
chords, working man’s hands
picked a pattern, conjured shimmer
from my dreadnought body.
Right out of the box he played me
throat to saddle, fretted my neck, bone
on brass strings, abalone, rosewood,
raised my pitch before he palmed
me mute with his strumming hand.
Mary Beth Hines’s debut poetry collection, Winter at a Summer House, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in early 2022. Her poetry, short fiction and non-fiction appear in journals such as Brilliant Flash Fiction, Crab Orchard Review, I-70 Review, Naugatuck River Review and SWWIM Every Day among many others. Connect with her at www.marybethhines.com.