Mike Alexander's first full-length collection, Retrograde (P&J Poetics), came out in 2013. His chapbook, We Internet in Different Voices (Modern Metrics), is available through EXOT books. His poems have appeared in River Styx, Borderlands, Bateau, Abridged, Barefoot Muse, Shit Creek Review, Raintown Review & other journals.
She reaches out her hand to touch the strings
of my guitar, where I am making chords
appear & disappear. There are some things
I cannot say, for which I have no words.
At times like this, I go for my guitar.
Flat fifths, augmented fourths, & minor thirds
leave blisters in their wake, if not a scar.
I play my mother a diminished scale.
I fall back on my usual repertoire,
the crowd-pleasers, old songs that rarely fail.
But at her touch, the flat-wound strings fall dead.
She reaches out her hand, painfully frail,
to interrupt, but leaves the thought unsaid,
& rests. The silences between us spread.