Our Song

Elegy for my sister

I’m listening to that rock ballad you loved,

Radiohead’s Don’t leave me high, Don’t

leave me dry, the same voice you swayed to,

 

just before you stopped listening, stopped

singing, stopped. I’m listening for you now,

replaying your songs, the ones you

 

lay on the floor in headphones listening to

in high school, the ones you blasted

in your car, twenty years later,

 

picking me up at the airport, asking me

to work the gearshift, your collar bone still

healing. It’s the least I can do now,

 

swaying back and forth to your anthems,

shivering on the subway platform,

ceiling beams black with soot and glazed

 

with ice, swallowing songs that course

through me, to you. There is light—you

would laugh to hear me say it—at the end

 

of the tunnel, one blurry orb as the train

appears, splitting itself like life set

into motion, sharpening into two distinct

 

eyes as it nears. A small sun burns in my throat;

I’m salty with exhaustion, limbs loose,

arms light enough to float—and I let them

 

rise and drift, as you would, to the song’s

sleepy rhythm, hearing the music as you

would, then hearing it without you.

The Southern Poetry Review