The Guitar

It came with those scratches
from all their belt buckles,

palm-dark with their sweat
like the stock of a gun:

an arc of pickmarks cut
clear through the lacquer

where all the players before me
once strummed—once

thumbed these same latches
where it sleeps in green velvet.

Once sang, as I sing, the old songs.
There’s no end, there’s no end

to this world, everlasting.
We crumble to dust in its arms.

Poem copyright ©2015 by Patrick Phillips, “The Guitar,” from Elegy for a Broken Machine, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Patrick Phillips and the publisher.
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