Fathom Mag

What We Were

A poem

Published on:
February 11, 2019
Read time:
1 min.
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Not a trumpet.
There was nothing brash or bawdy,
no reveille or brass.

Not a drum.
As much as we tried, we never could
get the rhythm right.

Not a guitar.
It would have required unwrapping our
fingers from one another.

Not a bass.
For all its depth, it didn’t have the
high notes we required.

Not a cymbal.
The “tsk, tsk, tsk” would have reminded us
too much of your shame.

We were none
but we were all.  We were the
whole jazz band:

the brooding horn, the step of the djembe,
the spur of the hi-hats and the weight
of the uprights in our chests,

writing a melody as we went along,
stumbling without rhyme or reason
deeper into one another.

Laura Kauffman
Laura Kauffman, MA is the author of Carolina Clay: A Collection of Poems on Love and Loss. She writes from the Loess Hills of Iowa, where she lives with her three sons, four pets, 15 chickens, and one husband, Chris.  You can follow her on Twitter @laura_kauff.

Cover photo by Spencer Imbrock.

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