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This poem is taken from PN Review 248, Volume 45 Number 6, July - August 2019.

Jubilee Richard Hoffman
The musicians are coming.

A man has set out from Kabul, his grandfather’s oud concealed in goatskin, rolled in a prayer rug. He walks past hatred’s checkpoint, fingers on his beads, remaining calm.

A man walks south-south-west from Botswana, the mbira in both hands, with his wife beside him on the hosho, chanting their way to the coast while steenbok and topi, startled, lift their heads and bolt from such strangeness.

One guitar is all the man from New York brings with him. He thought to slip a blues harp (Hohner, key of C) in his jeans’ back pocket but he left it on the nightstand.

Hair bedecked with jewels, a woman has wrapped the sitar in her clothing to protect it for the journey. Though her playing is virtuosic, sometimes she needs assistance tuning it.

The ponytailed gray poet with his wooden flute is aboard a ship, and as he stands at the rail he wonders if he can make a song of his wish to have something to say.

She has bells all over her, the Turkish dancer – bells on her belt and bells on her wrists and ankles. You would think her movements make music, but it is music moving her.

All manner of horns will uncurl their brass volutions into long and soothing airs, their players’ embouchures creating kisses on the wind.

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