The Rebel Flute

for KA

I wanted a clarinet
but my mother said it would give me buck teeth
I wanted drums
but who wants a power-drunk kid
flailing away in the basement?

I got a violin,
but after my parents endured two months
of their resident screech owl,
they gifted me with
"the perfect instrument for a girl"—a flute

I decapitated it and blew into the head piece,
spanking the open end, simulating turkey gobbles.
I slid my thumb in and out of its orifice,
grinning as it wailed like a police siren.

I buzzed my lips on the embouchure hole
as though it were a trumpet
(which would have been so much cooler,)
convincingly mimicking farts.

Bypassing the body
and joining the head to the foot joint,
I composed a 3-note ditty
and entertained my family
with infuriating regularity.

I flapped the keys mercilessly,
evoking the flutter of pigeons.
I blew smoke into the mouthpiece
and watched it waft up through the holes,
imagining that I had set it on fire.

I twirled it like a baton.
I hummed into it while blowing,
granting the timbre some cojones.
I tooted along with rock records,
pretending it was a flying V guitar.

Then, in college, it served as an easy entrée
I took it everywhere
like a joey in its mother’s pouch,
and it became my voice.

Finally seduced by its inherent sweetness,
I embraced its gentle power.
Now we turn air into music
like water into wine.

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