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Woodpeckers?

May 6, 2013

by Dennis H. Lee

Brad now had an attic filled with old, bad guitars.
His Uncle Henry was a music teacher for fifty-two years.
Aunt Clara had been a ballet dancer.
You could see the pictures of her on the walls
of their home, this house. And now
it was his job to clean it before the sale.
His mother was in Europe on a trip his father
used to dream about. Brad’s college-dorm buddies
dared him to do it. They could get the woodpeckers.
All they needed to do was empty the attic of everything
but the 37 guitars, and sheet the rafters, the walls,
the floors, anything exposed. And lay out the guitars.
June knew how to un-cage and re-cage the birds.
The rest was music, they thought. Henry set up
the audio stuff for the recording, and speakers
in his aunt’s sewing room below. But it was not
how they imagined it. Sure, there was occasional
string noise, even plucks. Mostly rapping, tapping.
But the bird calls were incessant, almost nonstop.
As if those woodpeckers knew this was wrong
and were not going to shut up about it.


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Dennis H. Lee’s poetry has appeared in Alimentum: The Literature of Food, Descant, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Rattle, Umbrella, and other journals.