Violin Girl

Violin Girl

You placed the blue vase on the windowsill beside my music stand
Through it, we could see the ocean
and the cracks in the window
that have become as steady as the lines on your face
You used to hold me when we were sleeping. But then the cold set in,
and now you hold your heart to the wall, seeking heat
from the room next to us
where the dogs sleep and the moonlight creeps in

You used to call me the same names that my mother once called me:
Sweetheart, little one, violin girl
You loved the way my hair, now white, would tangle with the strings
as I held the instrument close to my face. Violin girl

I used to say that you’d forgotten my real name
And so you would write it for me in the sand, with yours,
as we watched the seals along the shoreline,
their heads like music notes above the water

In the winter, you would work in the garage for hours
before I came home with grocery bags in my snow-worn hands
You were voiceless but covered in webs of light
as you walked out into the evening air
to greet me, looking past me

I held your small words like a child
and you held my hand
like a rock face holds a pool of water

In the evenings now,
we sit on the porch as neighbours’ children play in the streets
We watch the shadows slip between the posts of their hockey nets
They don’t notice the way that the shadows always win
But we do. You know the shadows on my face
You know the way they move, and what they have taken
You know the way they shiver with me
as the air changes

My violin sits in a case under the stairs now
And there is a part of you that is there too
beneath the boxes and books of old photographs:
the curve of your arms
your black hair, now silver,
the tautness of strings,
the light like fine whispers weaving in between the strands of your hair
under the trees by the river beyond your mother’s house
my hair between your outstretched fingers,
my hands across the concave your body makes
between your ribs and hip bone
as you lay down beside me and found my name
somewhere beside the silhouette of reeds