Music Appreciation 101

Dad fell for Mom
because she looked like Joni Mitchell.
Nine shared rent checks and one pregnancy later,
my mom came home from the hospital to him going ga ga
over the new Steely Dan album. I don’t blame him.

A self made orphan, he cut down his family tree
to build a bridge from Kokomo to San Francisco that’s still burning.

Before he taught me to ride a bike or throw
a left hook, he showed me how to hold a record
without touching its face; without leaving fingerprints,
scratches, evidence.  My dad’s proof
that ghosts exist.  They come back for birthdays and Christmas.

From a distance, he watched me grow into shoes, corsages, suitcases,
and Greyhound buses. And there’s a reason why a record reads
like a cross section of a fallen tree:
when my father pulls that album out of its cover,
a whole year of his life is right there
circling like kids on bikes in cul de sacs,
waiting for him to start the turntable,
place the needle in the groove,
and call them back.