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The Luthier

by Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers

Antonio de Torres Jurado (1817-1892), Spanish guitar maker


Torres’ secret was
soundboard, made
like a corset: cypress

struts that narrowed
at the waist. After
his wife was buried

in pine, he locked
all doors but
one—landing’s

lead-up to roof,
where cut spruce
aged from bone

to honey.  Window
was frame for sea’s
dull sawing, while

his good ear kept
time in waves. At noon
he called the boy,

taught him to slit
the sanded neck,
to hold a needle

still enough for rosette’s
slow ticking. Herringbone,
he showed him, is hardest

on old hands, for
only a precise grip
of dark veneer

can lay down
this ring, sign
without sound.

 

Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers is an MFA candidate at Cornell University, where she teaches undergraduates and serves as an editor at Epoch. Born and raised in North Carolina, she is a graduate of Oberlin College and spent several years in rural China teaching English and dance at an agricultural school. Her poetry has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Comstock Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, StorySouth, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. (12/2010)


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