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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.