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First Jazz Solo, a poem by Nancy Pulley

First Jazz Solo
by Nancy Pulley

Curly hair trills
to my son’s shoulders
and his boyish  face sprouts
the dark grace notes
of a struggling beard.

His quick jazz improv
sounds like
footsteps running away
or laughter in another room,
an independent dance

with just a hint of
and that
is the part of the performance
that steals my heart,

his need a different
rhythm, a syncopation
that turns the talent
into pure jazz,  the irregular
beat of his pumped heart

sounding in the stops
and starts of the trombone slide,
his young man’s lips
pursed on the mouthpiece
as if kissing someone goodbye.

Nancy Pulley is a graduate of Indiana Central College—now the University of Indianapolis. Her poems have appeared in The Flying Island, Arts Indiana Literary Supplement, Passages North, Plainsong, The Sycamore Review, Humpback Barn Collection, A Linen Weave of Themes, and The Tipton Poetry Journal, as well as other journals and publications. She was a recent recipient of an Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant in Poetry. Nancy has published two previous chapbooks. In 2014, her first full length poetry book, Warren Avenue, was published by Chatter House Press.