Tuning Fork

Lynchpin of the singing wheel,
you with the silver of your call
so tiny and, yes, unmusical

at times, your shiny monotone
a mere shiver down the spine
of the steel, the nerve, the wine

glass so quick to speak, to startle
at your touch, its hollow bell
overflowing with the chill

that silence drinks. As does the shape
of seasoned violins who sleep
beside you in their cases, who slip

at night from some determined pitch
and form of things. True, we call it,
as in true north, winter's pivot

we steer below, that we balance
in the heaven of our compass.
True, the way the rifle in us

aims to see, to make true the cross
that sees. True, as in the thrust
of birth, or death, the things we trust

to be there when we draw the curtain.
Is there nothing under the sun
more sure, more fragile than your song?

Of all the birds most like the hummingbird.
You who hover with the speed
of the atom, the blur of being

here alive. It's what you hear
passed as one symphonic rumor
from string to string, ear to ear,

through the sea of all the sour
fiddling, our uncertain water
from which a music crawls ashore.

Straight as light itself—the sound
you make—as the shaft we send
flying from the bow of sight.

Not much of a song really.
Not yet. More of a tune we bury
in bodies of the tunes we play,

a perfect thing (and so not
a thing at all) our one clear note
deep inside the humming planet.

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