Late night July, Minnesota, John asleep on the glassed-in porch, Bob Dylan quiet on a cassette you made from an album I got rid of soon after you died. Years later, I regret giving up your two boxes of vinyl, which I loved. Surely they were too awkward, too easily broken for people who loved music the way we did. But tonight I’m in the mood for ghosts, for sounds we hated: pop, scratch, hiss, the occasional skip. The curtains balloon; I’ve got a beer; I’m struck by guilt, watching you from a place ten years away, kneeling and cleaning each with a velvet brush before and after, tucking them in their sleeves. Understand, I was still moving then. The boxes were heavy. If I had known I would stop here with a husband to help me carry, and room—too late, the college kids pick over your black bones on Mass. Ave., we’ll meet again some day on the avenue but still, I want to hear it, the needle hitting the end of a side and playing silence until the arm gives up, pulls away.
Copyright © 2005 by Katrina Vandenberg. From Atlas. Reprinted with permission of Milkweed Editions.