You left our boys one harmonica each,
stored in little cardboard boxes
I couldn’t help quietly comparing to coffins.
But these harps, though they rest in peace,
are no more dead than you are alive, just
forever ready for some air to revive them,
to play and to be played, to smile
toothlessly through a row of square holes.
All I can remember of your repertoire
is a single blues song, just one ditty,
a memory simple enough to be summoned.
My eleven-year-old brings his harmonica
to his lips, and even before the first blow
I wonder if any of your breaths might have
been left inside the wind chamber, and
whether we’re letting one last piece of you go
as his inheritance begins to sing.
— from Juniper Volume 6, Issue 1