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.
The family comes bubble wrapped, prepped to eat over synthetic discourse.
Prayer first. The future’s passed around; patrons pile on the collection
plate. The oven is hot and the timer cheats. Women leap at the beep,
unrehearsed in their assembled domestic burst. Another spring chicken:
underdone meat, dry like chalk. She’ll learn. The men are robust with
compensating promises, raises and grease simmering at the table, lingering
green outside the confession booth. They lurch. A bubble pops and the
curtain drops. Chairs adjust, scrape back singed skin. Faith and heat
A senior creative writing major at Walnut Hill School for the Arts.
Art by Florence Liu