Steven Mayoff

Let Us Improvise Motifs


Let us improvise motifs
on neck and shoulder,
in the small of the back
and behind the knee

running blind fingers
over an accordion’s buttons,
coaxing a garlicky wheeze
from cracked leather

a thin current
filling the spaces (minute
pockets of eternity).


The real music exists
between the notes,
a serpentine shimmer

the air.

The clarinet’s reed stiffens
to life
between saintly lips
and confesses all secret
through a high black bell.

Let us practice etudes
on cuticles of keys
and soft pedals,
tongues strumming
inner strings.


The bow glides
across tightly-wound
tendons, a loving scrape on
an open nerve.

Let us dance beneath
a score of crows
… ecstasy
across sky and wire

we two
scarecrows, a voicing
of dry grass: hesitation
and desire, pushing
the 360-degree periphery

wind-loosened borders

our air.

(Originally appeared in Aquapolis, June 2007)

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