All the mammals in the house chose the dark and climbed up into the biggest bed in the house tonight, along with a hundred year-old banjo and a full moon. Back resting against flannel, feather and stucco, toes tucked into someone’s, dog flank against mine. Passing cars send squares of light through the plants in over the bathtub, sliding across my face and on down sand-rough doeskin walls, shadows of leaves making transient and new paintings — face, wall, window, wall and gone.
Low, lyrical picking, liquid and slow, for a banjo. No resonators here. These songs aren’t sung from the head — low songs of the people, sung from where most people sing, down the middle. I feel the song vibrate from my chest into the banjo, and from the banjo down through silk, skin, breast, heart. At song’s end I charge myself with the careful, deepest breath for giving the long, slow-held final note, banjo triads twining down through sevenths and minors and back to the voice, and home.
And here the sweet payment for this finest, longest note — in its fading and in return, I am given their breath and nothing more.