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And a Little Bit of Jazz

Her name is Jolene, like the Dolly Parton song

but not quite as glamorous.

That curly auburn hair of hers runs like railroad track

braids down her back between jutted shoulder blades

stories staining her teeth and tongue and lips

like red wine

characterized by beautiful chaos and slim cigarette fingers, half a shooting star

tattooed across her left thumb—

He was the first real live person besides her father who she ever saw put on cuff links,

and she loved him

loved that saxophone blues

blue note coaxed from reeds like bluegrass on rainy days

and daring like frank sinatra backwards

on those long piano fingers and grey eyes

tempting like the smell of cologne—sweet mahogany syncopation

dancing with her own lustful trace of chamomile and blueberries

he made unapologetic music

brash, like everything she wanted to be

those powerful trombone arms

lips numb from brass’ demands

callused hands and gentle fingers, wiped pitter-patter tears like windshield wipers

from high cheekbones. From a romance like something out of a Brontё novel.

She loved him,

more shamelessly than she could have ever imagined.

She learned from him.

everything except how to stay

because this man who taught her everything—

who saved her life

never stuck around long enough to teach her commitment.

like that shooting star

tattooed impartially across her callused hands

that could never figure out how to make frank sinatra backwards sound beautiful. 

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