It came with those scratches
from all their belt buckles,
palm-dark with their sweat
like the stock of a gun:
an arc of pickmarks cut
clear through the lacquer
where all the players before me
thumbed these same latches
where it sleeps in green velvet.
Once sang, as I sing, the old songs.
There’s no end, there’s no end
to this world, everlasting.
We crumble to dust in its arms.
Poem copyright ©2015 by Patrick Phillips, “The Guitar,” from Elegy for a Broken Machine, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015). Poem reprinted by permission of Patrick Phillips and the publisher.