Rebecca Macijeski
| poetry

     1. a musical instrument of the viol family

     Simple enough. It sleeps in its box the way a fox might sleep in a hole.

     2. violin

     Not exactly. A fiddle isn’t frills or trills or college educations.
     It knows in different ways. It knows by feel, by ear, by the way
     uncles fling chords across a room. It’s stuffed to bursting 
     with history, with tunes that mean my family takes to this town
     like birds to a tree. A lonely road can still be a happy one.
     Those kinds of things. Humble things. Real things.

Verb (without object)

     3. to play on the fiddle

     It’s about location. You want a country porch or an old playhouse
     or a dock, a stump, or a stone. You set out there a while
     and bring the box to your chin. It should be white and dusty
     with tunes. When you saw away, little bits
     should smoke up into the air.

     4. to make trifling or fussing movements with the hands (often followed +++by with)

     Like the life we’re trying to catch is a wild animal. Might get away.
     Might holler. Unless we can pin it first.

     5. to waste time; trifle; dally (often followed by around)

     This involves a fair bit of idleness, the kind
     businessfolk can’t understand. You see, waste isn’t waste
     when it’s filled with talking, laughing, whiskey,
     and the like. That’s where living actually happens.
     Not in ledgerbooks or school. It’s when you open your eyes
     and stare back at the world
     waiting for what stares back.

Verb (with object)

     6. to play (a tune) on a fiddle

     It’s just like a story. Each time you tell it it grows.
     A six-foot bear becomes an eight-foot bear.
     A stranger comes around and we feast for days.
     Blizzards last for weeks. Brooks become streams
     become rivers become water and sound
     flowing through the street, through town, 
     through the whole country, making a history,
     and filling listeners with something more than music,
     something live, something more 
     than this humming and sawing.

Rebecca Macijeski holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She currently serves as Creative Writing Program Coordinator at Northwestern State University. Her chapbook, Autobiography, will come out in late 2022.

Gloria, In Excelsis
Aubade for Every Broken Thing, Union City, TN