Jonathan Gavazzi

A Tired Song Keeps Playing

Speak the blue
house against a
subtle tongue, Jonathan you
were named for it—the grace of god, like sliding
across such kitchens as this, linoleum mecca, age
five & coddled in pajamas, she
caressed you from tantrums, un-
spooled the cassette tape patiently, now carry
the weight you have not carried, stay
put for her despite
piano lessons, despite scribbling, after all
you called him dad & she corrected you, he called
this home & she did not, Jonathan say
thirty-six black keys but first
you will learn to count, understand son, it
is painted across time, there are rules even to
mixing, stop, you are
shaking the bed with this & she needs rest, you
were always crying, always doing this, always vined against
her legs in the atonal exposure of supermarket parking
lots, once, she said, it even
took a man the brute & smoky rasp of your
young father, twenty-one years, to keep her fingers
from your crib, to re-
strain her, crooning very late that night beneath the silent mass of
a ceiling at which you stared, a white ceiling for
years, thrashing on your small
back & blue-worm
tongue out reeling, pitchless, there
there, in this house you learned your name, the few sacred
rules, to
stop crying for what you
wanted, to carry the thumb under, Jonathan you
know better, always push the track-one back, start
strong, yes, but always wait seven seconds before
you press record.

Jonathan Gavazzi writes poetry in Baltimore, Maryland.  He is a founding editor of Artichoke Haircut, a literary and arts publication, and a co-host of "You're Allowed," a monthly reading series.

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