Issue 125 |
Winter 2014-15

If It's Magic

When I find the Songs in the Key of Life 45s
I marvel at the messages my parents inscribed:

Sweet Dee and Junior Bee—In Love ’79
their marks on the sheath’s concentric circles,

inside, on the lyrics booklet, worn smooth
their scratches on the grooves.

I spend a year playing the set
enthralled every few days by some new epithet—

a background voice trailing,
a tone’s shift or timbre—

my mother counts the years since their beginning,
how I interrupt their ending, our common

heartache and revelry,
what each of us remembers.

The strange obsessions I inherit:
their soulful cinders, indecipherable

refrains, this awful insistence
on fraught and ordinary pain.