the tiny violin, turned white with cold, sings of winter
she dreams hands of a child, awkward

attempts at bowing, the squeaks, the arrhythmic pizzicato
split bow hair reclines on her, blanched like the hair of the woman

whose shed she lives in, case crammed upright between old bed springs
she wonders, how long have I been here, unaware

the owner of the shed is dying
one day, she hears a screak of metal coils moving

her case retrieved, opened by the woman’s daughter
strings, not tunable, plink ungainly notes

but the daughter holds her, hums a melody of mahogany warmth
vows to polish her, fix the bow, place her on the bedroom wall

where at night, facing the window, the violin’s heart
can swirl lullabies through a trellis of stars.

Margaret Walther is a retired librarian from the Denver metro area and a past president of Columbine Poets, an organization to promote poetry in Colorado.  She has been a guest editor for Buffalo Bones, and has poems published or forthcoming in many journals, including Connecticut Review,, Quarterly West, Naugatuck River Review, Fugue, The Anemone Sidecar, Chickenpinata, and Nimrod. She won the Many Mountains Moving 2009 Poetry Contest.  Two of her poems published in the online journal In Posse Review in 2010 were selected by Web del Sol for its e-SCENE best of the Literary Journals.

My parents both lived through the Great Depression.  They had a shed behind our house, over a hundred feet long, which had three enormous rooms, all of them packed to the ceiling with such valuable items as bald tires, rubber bands for emasculating sheep, broken farm tools, lamps, clocks and toasters, along with the real deal—old family pictures, cutglass, lace tablecloths, china from Germany and many items in trunks.   None of the children knew where anything was.  One of the neighbors said, “They could sell tickets for people to peek in there.”   As for the violin—When young, my twin sister and I wanted to play stringed instruments, but Mother and Father, barely surviving on a farm, couldn’t find the money to buy any so one of my great aunts sent a factory model violin for me and a viola for my sister.  We played them in elementary school through part of junior high, and then they disappeared into the maw of the shed.  After Mother’s death, the violin, to my joy, was retrieved.




Copyright 2009