Molly in a Red Wig Plays a Fiddle

Molly asks me take the hanging guitar
held suspended from its two-prong hook screwed
to the wall. The guitar is her brother’s,
custom-made in Viet Nam, a body
brown as roux, its head and neck completely
filigreed with inlayed nacre. Hank is
working as a lawyer in Saigon. At first, I
close my eyes and let my searching fingers
find the old positions as in rhythm
I start strumming one four five. She never
names the tunes she plays, just calls them “old ones,”
Gaelic melodies through Appalachian
ache discovered by a West Coast woman
travelled more than I will ever travel.

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Thomas Alan Holmes, a member of the East Tennessee State University English faculty, lives in Johnson City. His work has appeared in Louisiana Literature, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Appalachian Heritage, The Connecticut Review, North American Review, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Still: The Journal, and The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VI: Tennessee.

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