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.