crouching in the den
next to the grey space heater
in the dark, frostbitten nights of Ohio winter
and listening to my Father’s 78s.
I was eight years old, and nothing made sense.
But I understood when Cat sang about
Tuesday being dead.
I understood it because of the bends in his voice.
I understood when Aretha asked for R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
Because she sang/yelled it. She demanded it.
And I didn’t know what respect was, but I knew that someday I would want it too.
When Don McLean said goodbye to Miss American Pie, I cried.
I didn’t know why I was crying but I knew it was a sad, sad song.
I cried for something I’d never felt, someone I had yet to meet.
When Elton played Take Me To The Pilot, the “na na nas” were my lullaby,
by the space heater,
with my wool blanket,
in the Ohio winter.