I didn’t know it was jazz back then,
filling the house when I was a boy,
aurally, but visually, too,
abstract art on the cover of albums,
propped against the leg of a chair,
or a lamp on a table while the record played,
Mingus Ah Um, Getz/Gilberto,
Miles, Monk, Dave Brubeck, Take Five.
I only knew that Mom and my brother
seemed to have a special relationship,
a secret connection when he’d
bring home a record,
and put it on the record player
in our shared bedroom.
Mom would come in
and sit on the bed,
cross her leg
like when deep in thought,
smoke a cigarette,
tap her thin foot,
not on the floor,
on a cloud just above it.
There’d be long stretches
when they wouldn’t talk,
but would listen, listen,
for I don’t know what,
equally lost in the geometry of space,
as the horn player dug cat claws
into my ears.
Right about then I’d always
slip out, unnoticed,
with my ball and mitt,
and go find Denny for a game of catch.
Lee Stockdale has worked in many restaurants, as a house painter, in a car wash, as a New York City cab driver, and as a US Army Command Judge Advocate. His collection of poems, Gorilla, is forthcoming in the fall of 2022, and is available now for (discounted!) pre-publication order from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Lee and his wife, a potter, live in the Western North Carolina mountains where they ride bikes, practice hot yoga, and feed the wild turkeys.
The Ekphrastic Review
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