• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 09
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The Old Cassette

You come across a box of them in plain sight
but out of mind. Who made all these cassettes?
You pick one up, place it on a bit of green matting,
and wonder what voices this unmarked recording
holds. Though it’s in good shape, even playable,
it must be pretty old: you stopped recording
tapes in the mid-80s. Was it a gift for Suzy—you
had such a crush on her—or a bit later for Amin—
you pined so for him at that time without
understanding the meaning of your feelings?
What songs would you have recorded? Perhaps
Hendrix for Suze—she was into the greats of rock—
or a soulful Aretha for Amin, who swayed each day
to the notes the Queen of Detroit sent soaring
over the airwaves. Suzy and I would lie on her bed
staring at the miniature planets over us, wave
upon wave of “All Along the Watchtower” buoying
us up toward that little solar system. I would watch
Amin’s sensuous movements and rise to dance
slowly beside him, never daring to touch. Such
memories are like this unplayable tape—they remind
us of what has been but afford no access to it.
To the moment when I leaned over Suze and kissed
her once on each eye and once shyly on the lips.
Or to that other when I looked longingly at Amin,
his eyes closed, his lips parted, his stem-like body
waving in my little room, so full of loss and yearning.