by Elizabeth Mayer
In the gravel ditch by the house with the weather vane, a box of cassette tapes: heard: humming, a voice clear though the fuzz—Mr. Bluebird—buffered by clatter of plates, sizzle of pan, faucet running; plink of Chucho Valdés, the imprint of FM static, the announcer’s sublimated voice, a plea for donations, telephones ringing; two children, the first older, full of spit—Elizabeth, where are we going tomorrow?, the second, very new, sky-high—the bitch!, peals of laughter, confusion, Where?, The bitch! The bitch!; a recording of CATS, original cast, Memories, ragged, pitched, all theater; Orson Welles, not War of the Worlds, something else, less pressing, a story for a long drive, diversion, caper; a child moaning the wind, breath against the cheek of a microphone, a fence in a graveyard, the stutter of fear; I was walking in the night / And I saw nothing scary. / For I have never been afraid / Of anything. Not very. / Then I was deep within the woods / When, suddenly, I spied them. / I saw a pair / of pale green pants / With nobody inside them!; hushed tenor counting backwards from 10, birdsong, rain, clink of leaves, a recommendation to focus first on each toe—one at a time; You can’t always get what you want. Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.; a mix tape, warped, warbled slow with time, Neil, Joni, John, Sly; a man’s question, rumbled low, Love me forever? How long?, the woman, no fuss: Please. Darling. Eat your toast.