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Cleaning Out the Lyre

Pour fifteen grains of rice into your hand
and guide the ice-white, jumping chips to the face
of your lyre, then to the cheekbone band,
a silhouette. Then in the f-hole lace—

yes, inside, the lining of willow-wood—clean,
rice. The dust's loose. The voice of rain
moves the trees that bow to the silver-green
lake where a horse and cart's loaded with chains

to secure the carp along the river road
and past the shop where Jean Baptiste's artists
plane the willow and sand the maple good
for ribs. Some unbraid white horsehair with mist

they spit, and a bone comb. Then they stretch,
unwrapping bread and cheese over a sketch.

Tyler Mills

Tongue Lyre
Southern Illinois University Press

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