by Justin Nash


You’re going sixty-eight down the interstate
in your blue soccer mom car, which
is maybe just a little bit too fast and you
have no children with you, but your mother
she is complaining about your sad indie music
the way she complains about the school you chose
and the sport you quit playing and your weight
because of it and the girls you will never date
Maybe this is why you’re so depressed she says
all this music just sounds like whale noises
so you change the song for the fourth time
and this time “Doo Wop (That Thing)” comes on
and she looks at you and she just

she starts singing and she is singing
with a freedom that says she’s seen
that shit live and for the first time
in weeks the two of you aren’t fighting
and no one is hurting so you start singing too
and the three of you—you, your mother, and
Ms. Lauryn Hill—are as in sync as you’ve ever been.
But, of course, it ends like everything else
and you are once again reminded of how fast
you are moving and how you’ve made it
almost five miles in those four minutes.

She goes right back to telling you about
what’s missing in her life and this time
it’s the minute and twenty-nine second difference
between the radio edit and album version, You know
the version with the talking at the end?

Then, a year later, you discover entirely
by coincidence that your dreary walk from
one class to another on Thursday morning
just so happens to be the exact length
of time it takes to listen to “Doo Wop
(That Thing) (Gordon’s Dub)” in full which
you only knew to put in your songs because
of your mother and you’re walking in the building
taking off your headphones when the man
you can only guess is Gordon says She poetic She
killed you
and you start thinking about how that’s a
conversation you’ve never had.


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