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.

Caribou

Emily Boyle uses her thick and cunning diction to enhance her unique and vivid imagery of a twisted relationship in her poem Caribou.

He, a practiced piper

Poked holes in my windpipe

Teased notes of seduction

From this homemade flute

Caught you with a butterfly net

Weaved from my hair

And locked you in my ribcage

The bone splinters keep you

Still

Check the back alley dumpster

His drive­through graveyard

Take his leftovers

I

Am his leftovers

Give him my skull

So he’ll stop asking for head

He never looks down anyways

Wrap yourself in my hide

To mask your scent

Between subway rides

And under park benches

When he asks for your tongue

And he will ask for your tongue

Cut out mine

Keep yours locked behind

Teeth stained yellow and red

Empty my stomach of the acid

Forced down my throat

Swallowed by bruised lips

Fashion a drawstring pouch

Tie it shut with braided ligaments

Run

In case he catches up

Pull the pins out of my ovaries

Don’t forget to throw

Before they explode

Into ovum shrapnel

That scared him more than me

Bind his wrists with my small intestine

After the explosion

Set fire to the kindling that was my hair

Carve the fat from my chest

Marinate it in the remnants

Of my menstrual blood

And make him swallow

By Emily Boyle

Emily Boyle lives in Beaver Island, Michigan, and attends Interlochen Arts Academy as a senior. 

Art by Jules Ventre