Between the Bars

He can’t sign his name anymore
hands shake an up-tempo rhythm
like some damned digital drum kit
that you can’t find the switch to turn it off
so Peggy does it for him.

Still, he can pick up his fiddle
squeeze the neck and draw the bow
the tremors stop
and a high thin wire of golden sound
uncoils in the room,
grateful notes spilling like drops of sunset
as they slip to freedom
between the back-beat bars
of his affliction.

Eyes closed, smiling that bad boy grin
his renegade pulse is still
and time stops
for a few short numbers
Then he opens his eyes
hands the fiddle to Peggy
and steps off the stage.

The silent beat returns
as she closes the fiddle case.