As yet there was only one sister,
still too young for school.
We three brothers weren’t much older.
I suspect that what I say is
more than a bit sentimental
and may not have a basis
in what was real back then.
So be it but let me keep it,
the four of us hearing the tune,
the strings and horns so alive.
It’s good to be where we are,
near our parents’ new hi-fi,
which spills into every corner.
The fidelity—almost shocking.
They’ve told us about its wonders,
and now at last they own one.
Having adjusted some knob,
they stand stone-still for a moment,
as if in a sort of trance.
Of course, they’re both in the grave now
and of course they no longer dance,
cheeks touching—or anyhow—
but as long as I say so they do.
Indeed the song I hear now
is precisely “Cheek to Cheek.”
Now, why would it talk about swimming
in a river or a creek?
Or maybe it’s actually fishing. Who cares?
Strange bliss pours forth
as long as the record keeps spinning.
Sickness, regret, and death
will all arrive in time.
And rancor. I won’t forget
the rancor. This evening, however,
we siblings sit and watch,
enchanted, four children together
on the couch with the fancy lace
while our faithful parents glide
in what looks like a fond embrace.
This poem appears in the June 2022 print edition.