The hardwoods sent their roots
down into the museum below
into the vaults beneath the leaf mat
where the first sounds, stellar echoes
muffled under perfect black loam
formed the aboriginal musicale

Before a cutter can say “fall”
your chambered body, your neck
before the luthier said “shape”
still hidden in the mists

On mountainside, in the valley
the poison dart frogs meeping
in a driving rain, giant Stag Horns
under impossible vine-laced canopy

The rain forest written in your
rufous stained, long grained face
clutched by hooters and hollers
improvising drunken solos, the babel
of every-skin merry players, roof beam
rackets, the shoe-scuffed dance floors
of us, the throngs, and giddy songs

Slap-strumming pedal to the metal
or finger pecked, string bending
trance shattering crescendos, all from
such a stoic, quiet-seeming wood
born of the life-oozing hum
and decibel of ancient anterooms
long before the chainsaws

Then sometime after, the cover bands
of coping saws and chisels played
familiar jig with clamp and glue
then catgut, me, and you


(an affectionate nod to my favorite ukulele
and well-made stringed instruments in general)

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