The Way We Listened to Music

A Poem by Elizabeth Vignali

In the den, lights off, windows open behind beat-up blinds. I sat on brown shag carpet, parted its long strands to find the yellow glue disintegrating between the fibers in sharp crumbles like sugar.

I picked at the pieces, rolled them between my fingers, pressed them hard into my skin until it hurt. No one was allowed to touch the turntable but Dad. We listened to Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherezade. Stevie Wonder’s The Secret Life of Plants. The Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed. Puccini’s Turandot. My back pressed against the gold velvet couch that smelled like cat piss, like the dregs of Dad’s Coors Light he let me finish. Skyscraper equalizer lights rose and fell, green cities built and destroyed by the beat. Fleas hopped on my bare legs. Jumped at the cannon’s boom during the 1812 Overture.