I’ll Sing to Both

Sophie Coats explores the intimacy of music and family memories in her poem, "I'll Sing to Both".
 My father dances to women
singing jazz, black birds and blue
jays. I dance to the sound of his
footsteps and stand on his black
 
penny loafers. We don't talk
about my parents' childhoods except
for Midwest winters, but I wonder if they played
jazz on vinyls, what it sounds like when it gets scratched
       if the sound still echoes.
 
My mother doesn't like jazz or
poetry. She listens to Sheryl Crow
on broken CD players that skip my favorite
parts in the summer, and I want to sing
 
to sunshine and sadness, but my mother
says I'm no good. So I listen to Alicia Keys
on my sister's portable CD player that isn't broken and pretend
she is singing to me, calling my braided hair beautiful, while I wait
        for the click of my father's heels back from work.
 
My teacher says she doesn't trust the new
ipods, says they can't sound like records
on Sunday afternoons. It's just not possible
that something so tiny can hold so much.
 
My father doesn't know that Uncle
Kracker's song Follow Me is about adultery
so I download it along with Sheryl Crow's
album, but I sing to both when no one
               is watching.
 

Sophie Coats was born in Texas, but raised a Jersey girl. Junior year of high school, she traded out
public school life for the boarding school experience at Interlochen Arts Academy where she studied
creative writing. She was awarded a gold key for flash fiction and a gold key for poetry in the
Scholastic Art and Writing awards. Her work can also be found in the Interlochen Review.
Art by Sarah Little.
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