The Luthier

by Katiebird Yates

the luthier


the obituaries

for fresh flesh


new bones and

taught skin

sound the best


at night

he gathers

his tools

packs his sled


spools of thread

copper strings,

tuning pegs,

a knife to slice

their throats,

a splint to stiffen

their legs


in cemetery silence

he sneaks

sidling and slipping

until he finds

soft soil


his shovel


the coffin


a drumbeat

on a dead



he feels

a little

like a robin

when it pulls

the stubborn worm

from its home


he fishes and fights

he flirts and finesses

convincing the corpse

to come to the surface


the luthier undresses

caresses and stretches

sucks and staples

saws and scratches


he bends their bodies

contorts and creases

cuts and plucks

rearranging the pieces


he makes


his instruments


and violins


empty bodies

filled with




Katiebird Yates is a Syracuse-born swamp witch and newly appointed queen of the toad garden, living in South Florida with her husband and two wild dogs.

Photo credit: Josh via Flickr, All Creative Commons

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