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From Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems 2002

Prompt #15: Character as Poem

Take the time to describe someone, either from memory or someone you currently know.  Avoid sentimentality–this is not an Ode or an homage, so describe without cheese.  Instrument of Choice describes a lonely girl with both humor and a biting cruelty.

Instrument of Choice by Robert Phillips (56)

She was a girl
no one ever chose
for teams or clubs,
dances or dates,

so she chose the instrument
no one else wanted:
the tuba. Big as herself,
heavy as her heart.

Its golden tubes
and coils encircled her
like a lover’s embrace.
Its body pressed on hers.

Into its mouthpiece she blew
Life, its deep-throated
Oompahs, oompahs sounding,
Almost, like mating cries.

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