Katrina Vandenberg

Late night July
in Minnesota, with John
asleep on the glassed-in porch,

I listen (quietly)
to Bob Dylan on a cassette
you made from an album

I got rid of soon after
you died. Years later,
I regret giving up

your two moving boxes
of vinyl (which I loved)
in a stand against the futility

of saving outdated things.
Surely they were too awkward,
too easily broken,

too poorly mastered
for people who loved music
the way we did. But tonight

I’m in the mood for ghosts
like you, for being
younger, since you’re a 

big girl, now I’m thirty-one
to your unchanging twenty-five.
In the mood for sounds

we hated: pop, scratch,
hiss, the occasional
skip. The curtains balloon;

I’ve got a beer; I’m struck
by guilt, watching you
from a place ten years away,

kneeling and cleaning each
with a velvet brush before
and after, tucking them in

their sleeves. Understand,
I was still moving then.
The boxes were heavy.

If I’d known I’d stop here
with a husband to help me
carry, and room—too late,

the college kids pick over
your black bones on Mass. Ave.,
we’ll meet again some day

on the avenue but still,
I want to hear it, the needle
hitting the end of a side

and playing silence
until the arm gives up,
pulls away.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro


KATRINA VANDENBERG grew up in the Downriver region of Detroit, Michigan, and lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a visiting writer at the Minnesota College of Art and Design and a Minnesota writer in the schools for COMPAS. Her poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, and Puerto del Sol.