Jodie Hollander

2 Poems

Cello Case

After her cello was sold,
her bows all given away,
little remained of my Mother
except  for her cello case—
That large brown case
was almost the shape of a person,
though it was only a shell,
hard, expressionless,
and always a little forbidding
sitting in our living room.
It was the thing Mother dressed up
each year for Halloween:
she’d tie a cape on its neck
give it a witches cap,
then move it to the window
for all the neighbors to see.
As a child I never dared
to touch that big brown case,
I always feared the cello
Mother kept inside:
it’s body big and hollow,
its tones sorrowful;
they’d follow me around
all day long at school—
Only in my dreams
do I unclasp its buttons,
and push its two halves open:
inside it’s velvet lined,
and still smells of rosin.
I search and search the case
for any little vestige
of the cello I remember,
but find there’s nothing’s left
except a piece of paper,
stating the cello was sold
to a lady in Manhattan;
inside there’s nothing else,
but strange dark space.




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