a string snaps on her violin,
she welds another from the bed

When she cuts the springs from the frame
the music in sawing,    notes ring out
over a flat land of snow,
flakes melt when they touch her teeth

in the shed    the fire        always on,
she works at the flame’s edge       thins the string
she won’t stop        ‘til the steel’s skinny        

hands and shoulders on the string every night
because of Tchaikovsky & Khachaturian
she loves dead men

now, only silence during daylight
now she tells her grandfather stories

he likes to turn his ears out to the field
when children play
when dogs snarl    maybe

they caught a rat

Alex Vartan Gubbins earned a BA from UW-Madison and an MFA from Northern Michigan University and has recently been published in The Tishman Review and By&By Poetry. He taught English and poetry in Qatar for two years (2014-2016) and is now poet-in-residence at Akos Cultural NGO in Yerevan, Armenia.