The Wolf Guitar vs The Secretary of the Interior

(Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist, 1903. Supreme Court Case, Lone Wolf vs Secretary of the Interior, Hitchcock, 1903)

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Hosting Nobody

Start with the bones,
and chickens will set them to splinters

with a waltz. They’ll open up completely,
then sing the song of an open window.

This will call them to you.

Clatter silver in 4/4 time, and they will take their hands
from their feral ears and press

their lips to Honda Civics on their way
to sharpen their teeth on bougainvillea.

When this happens do not save them,
ambulances are smoking cigarettes.

Next, salt from Atlantic will be needed to build
a spiral staircase. When building up, never forget to also build down:

the breeze will wish that cormorants had wooden toes.
When a Honda Civic burns on the overpass,
sing the song of a chambered lock.

This will invite them in.

Later, whip the stews to thicken the meat
with the bones of pork. Turtles will come to mourn the loss.

Resist the urge to shell them with a house fire. Pistachios cry
when they think no one is looking. Ambulance drivers cry

when they think no one is looking. Scatter the marrow like sunflower petals.
After this, indigo should have ripened. Use sparingly,

so as not to overpower the guests.
Give them the blankets over the back of the couch,

the ones that feel like hands.
Sing the song of an open bedroom with boards for only one wall.

This will ask them to stay.
Play rummy with cormorants while a blue mist, left over

from a november night, sleeps,
drunk on the lawn between the bougainvillea

and the ambulances in the shape of a lighthouse.
Write the song of an open table

on top of the breakers. A lantern will hang
until dead in the burrow of a rabbit.

Between when it is relit and when it is dark again
is the time. When they will take you with them,

they will thank you with the bones of chickens
and water from Atlantic squalls

this is what will keep your hands warm
when no one is there to hold them 


MICHAELSUN STONESWEAT KNAPP is a traditional pipe carrier, a college graduate, an award-winning author and poet, and he once wrestled a bipolar Italian woman who wore an eye patch that only blocked out one moon, and had a pair of barn swallow tattoos (one on each of her clavicles, for each of the seas she had crossed by foot) over a sturgeon they had each come upon while hiking through the Black Forest of Germany. Michaelsun Knapp has been published in Ball State’s magazine The Broken Plate, Walnut’s Creepy Gnome, and Chaffey's Chaffey Review, as well as many others.