The Banjo Beside Her Bed by John Tustin


The Banjo Beside Her Bed


The banjo beside her bed

Resting in its special stand –

I’d get into her bed and it would be looking up at me,

Glossy and unused,

Imposing and pristine.


Her husband bought it for her

Even though they now lived apart

And she told me she was taking lessons

From a man who owned a store

That sold musical instruments.

He was also friends with her husband.


She never played it in front of me

And I never asked her to play it in front of me.

I’d get into her bed and it would be looking up at me

With its five scorpion strings

And its perfect body in the soft light of her room.


It’s been five years since I’ve been in her room,

Lying in her bed and wondering if she could play that banjo,

Wondering just what the hell was going on between her

And the man who bought it for her.

I don’t wonder anymore

But it’s not because I don’t care anymore.


The banjo beside her bed

Resting in its special stand

Like the flowers he would buy for her

And have delivered to her job,

Standing all day in a small glass vase


Sitting on her desk for her to admire

While I sat on her bed

Looking at that banjo that looked back at me,

Both of us waiting for her to come home

And the banjo knowing she would only play him

After I had gone.



John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on the island of Elba but hopes to return to you soon. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.