The Girl From Ipanema

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Poetry
came waltzing on into my still life
in keen triple meter. Restringing
my mute strum of worn-out vibrations
with wind-swept mm-Bap-Baps
and tight ¾ timing.

She glides, sails with the nuance
of a turntable needle
going about an old-time soul EP.
Slipping from ritz record
to the next. Easy, Al Green style,
using old rhythms

She writes songs –
composes to the sprung beat
of Bossa Nova. Words sweep
her off of real time until
a melody is peeled out.
She'll hum some body's breath ‘til
it has a bridge. Until clouds
come reeling, swinging that way
to roost and morph into shapes
that echo her guitar-plucked

When she sings every heart comes dipping.
Fresh fools tangoing - left legs locked around
giddy hopes that her serenade is for them.
Especially (hush-hush) the taken ones,

who can't abstain from her
kick-eyes. From pivoting -
toes-in and heels-out, with the
step-twisting knee-bending
heart-beats of The Charleston.

She doesn't write down any of her songs
even though I always ask her to.
Says they were finished in her head,
so, no need.
Doesn't sing them to be heard,
sings them because they happened -
like wind

an air stream curling
unconcerned through her ear
and out her mouth
and into my chest
like a sharp breath.

Who would listen, anyway? she smiles,
knowing how I haven't been able to stand
listening to anything else, not even the gulps
of morning dewdrops condensating,
since the night she played me her song about

me, making the rhythms and meters
of breathing laughable with just a light knuckle
against the body of a guitar.
Each thumbed pulse a perfect cue note
for the tear on my chin to break

and blot onto the notebook pages
of unstrung chord drawings
strewn all around us
like graphite constellations.