78 RPM


Dusk and three minutes
Of fading light,
Pale as moonflowers,

Muted trumpets now,
Drawn up tight as those
Parasols propped in

The corner of your aunt’s
Screened-in side porch, which
She calls veranda, where

White wicker bites
Through your white cotton
Shift, as she lifts a disk

Of black scratchy “wax,”
Places it on the Victrola,
Says, I’ll be back in

A shake, you two, and
Disappears inside.
As the heavy arm angles

From left to right, as
The stylus traces
Its sapphire finger

Down the record’s groove,
As he skates a single
Finger along the sun-

Bleached down of your
Arm, and as you
Start to shake,

Heart rising and
Falling like Billie’s
Song, cool water poured

To the top, brimming,
Then spilling silver
Notes, and his lips

On yours for —
The stylus bumps
Its paste-paper

Center; you hear
The screen door’s
Thump against its

Frame, hear Aunt’s
High heels tick
Across the porch.

Here’s something
For this heat,
She says, handing you

Each iced tea: beaded
Glass, mint and a
Paper umbrella

Blooming, a drink he
Grasps quickly and gulps.
You’ll have to keep your

Knees pressed tight together.
As the light dims.
As the record changes.