Mouth organ

Sally in the Garden, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wind That Shakes the Barley, Money Musk, where do these damn tunes come from? They come from this little metal box, from its rows of tongues. From my own tongue and lips and throat. From the in-breath and the out-breath, the wings inside my chest fluttering however the notes dictate. From a change in the weather; from the flicker of lightning behind my eyelids. Fisher’s Hornpipe, the Rights of Man, Off to California, no two refrains come out the same. Grace notes grow into flourishes, flourishes into figures, figures into new tunes — reels, ballads, hornpipes — half the titles vanished from my memory, few lyrics (can’t sing and play at the same time in any case), only the tune, or part of it. I pace back and forth on the morning porch, cupping the mouth organ against my lips. Thunder rattles the windows behind me. The rain pours down.

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