Picasso’s Blue Guitarist
We weren’t a great match as college roommates.
We both knew the Chicago Art Institute,
winds off the lake, and sweat in summers.
Other than that
in those days wherever I lived, an orange and red rug followed me,
a rug I hooked as a would-be sunshine. The rug fuzzed.
A curled Blue Guitarist poster followed her.
My boyfriend lobbed ripe oranges through the window
to my desk and upset some nights whistling for me.
She kept a bottle of Glenlivet under the skirts of her bed
and wore cowboy boots. We managed to get along.
I never said a word against the bent old man that hung
in our bedroom. I like blue.
I imprinted on that old man that year.
My father almost died. I drifted
toward graduate school without conviction,
arched under the gravity of being me.
I knew how his neck came to hook.
Did he pluck a twang I could hear? Never.
See how his legs fold,
X marks the groin, genitals
covered in guitar, hints of a black abyss
delving into his manhood.
His bones of remnant hands
never threatened me
and never promised hope.
I threw out the ratty rug one day.
I have come to know the guitarist.
Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet. Her chapbook Urban Wild is out from Finishing Line Press. Her new book Ocean's Laughter about a small town on the northern Oregon coast (Aldrich Press) is now available. Website: triciaknoll.com
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