Painting by Lauren Grace Fox

“Bury your talent (Song of Solomon Redux)” was previously published in The Timberline Review Winter/Spring 2016.

Bury your talent (Song of Solomon Redux)

“There is an old kitchen way to say what we did: you bury your talent in a napkin” – Hettie Jones, How I Became Hettie Jones

Solomon skips over mountains. Leaps down hills.
He praises pomegranate. Pear.
Sings love into being. 

I am a failed troubadour. 
My feckless songs clot the earth.
Yield no fruit. Only stunted juniper. 

Solomon, soujourner,
Is tall and lean like sugarcane. 
He stretches. He reaches the light he needs. 

I would trade wildness --
Cedar, fir --
To be nearer his guitar strings. 

He strokes them tenderly.
He plucks them joyfully. 
They sing.
     (Deer listen.)
     (Thickets clear.)
     (Orchards brim.)

Love leaps into being. 

Spliff-waving men talk jazz in my kitchen.
Outside, parents call children home for dinner.
Lilacs perfume sky blue as the bowl I reach for.

Solomon takes it all in. Spoons out a compliment
Broad as the worlds between us:
"That's some kinda gumbo".

Our kitchen holds more music than food. 
Rationed orange juice;
Chicken backs;
Fish heads for the cats.

His fingers tap out sounds.
Drown the everyday.

Someone, please.
Take out the trash.
And mind the children.

Give me this:
One afternoon and room.
Enough to birth a bellyful of poems--

And let loose

Love enough.
Shelley Marie Motz

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