poem index

Record

Katrina Vandenberg
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.

Katrina Vandenberg

by this poet

poem
still I hail from smokestacks girders closed

factories McLouth Steel’s poured slag turning the night

sky and black river orange the tight typeface of houses

in River Rouge Wyandotte the steel and auto tribes

tribe of the alphabet job shops the fathers who set

cutting tools on screw machines to make in