The First Time I Heard Fiona Apple

Man, I’ve sure got a lot of things to get off my chest.

I think

distracted at 6 a.m.

on a cat hair yoga mat

digging through old notebooks

instead of sun salutations.

Mom got rid of MTV

when I was a kid

after she saw me

through a crack in the bathroom door

exposing myself in the mirror

and singing Madonna songs.

Later I would see her do things

outside my bedroom window

through a hole in the blinds,

but getting rid of MTV

wouldn’t make those things go away.

I buried them.

We buried my pap

on a quiet cemetery hill.

Pale September.

His urn next to grandma’s urn.

Only five people were there.

I dug my fingers in the earth.

Dirt under my nails.

Buried.

I heard Fiona Apple for the first time

curled up on the carpet

on his apartment floor

and felt invigorated.

Sleep to Dream on an old tube TV.

The first time I had seen MTV in years.

I was a teenager,

eager to expose myself

to more than just a bathroom mirror.

“Don’t look, Rod!”

A few days before he died,

Pap instructed my dad to avert his eyes

as the nursing home resident down the hall

raised her shirt over her head

exposing a weathered and sagging chest.

6 a.m. notebook in my lap

cringing at a buried me.

Man, I’ve sure got a lot of things to get off my chest.

But not today.

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