playing by heart


    for Ginger

    It doesn’t matter how long it has been.
    Most any night, I can pick up my guitar
    and my fingers will find their way to fret
    and strings, and my voice meet the melody,
    so familiar: “People smile and tell me
    I’m the lucky one . . .”

    The picking pattern is muscle memory,
    which is my working metaphor this evening,
    twenty-one years on since the first time
    I saw you (I had my guitar then, too) and
    we just began what has become a lifetime
    of love together . . .

    So even though we ain’t got money,
    I am still so in love with you; I’ve learned love
    from you, with you. The song and dance
    of togetherness moves my heart in ways
    as familiar and surprising as an old
    friend of a love song . . .

    You’re the girl who holds the world,
    as you hold my heart, with tenacity
    and tenderness, the one who is home,
    who finds me in the morning as we rise
    (you can sing along) and tells me
    everything’s gonna be alright.


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