Doogle’s Banjo

Maybe he had a real banjo at home,
leaning in a corner next to his spittoon
or hanging on a wall near a crucified
wooden spoon. Maybe when he played
air banjo for the junior high boys it was
more than imagined joy. Maybe he could
see the emptiness between his flailing
hands as an instrument, hear the noise
he made in his nose as ringing steel,
feel the strings press his calluses, feel
the taut drum’s vibration against the butt
of his palm. Maybe the derision
I heard in the boys’ voices was all in
my often bruised imagination. Maybe
Their calls were music too. And if it
was meanness, maybe the Bluegrass in
Doogle’s head drowned it out.

Timothy Robbins

About the poet: Tim Robbins has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have also appeared in Three New Poets, The James White Review, Slant, Main Street Rag, Two Thirds North, The Pinyon Review, Wisonsin Review, and others.