Phonograph Mouth by Rebecca Keith

I can enable you to always hear the voices of your loved ones, even though they are far away.


Your ears can’t record like I do. I’ll be them, beat them,
the advent of me a break for them. Forget memory,
my intent to lull you so your eyes soft, head slack.
I remember it better than it was. Let me repeat
any instance, a hologram of sound. Back track the soundtrack—
any year you want. Lullaby to playground to the first song
you rewound and rewound or needle dropped. I can’t see
the jukebox coming, walkman and rollerskates.
I’ll meet you by the ice cream truck jingle by the carousel
swelling sea of the century of public noise. But oh,
we’re intimate, smell of sun and linden trees,
whisper of lay here with me. All my bars tender,
my chords keepsakes, just off-key enough to be exactly
how you want that it was, i.e. I can enable you
to cut out sirens and brakes, keep the morning’s voice
as it rolls over next to you. A spell of sorts, me, a machine—
condense distance, erase the sport of split. No one will say
anything you don’t want to hear. Wind me and I’ll replace
this one room with a study in your best dress, without wait
or just enough to make it— swivel that chair— here is you
and them, spread confetti on the porch, throw back an oyster.
I’ll give you every call, every footfall toward and none away,
driving by a sea-wall. You thought you saw this all but hear
baby baby, hear.


Rebecca Keith’s poetry, fiction, and other writing have appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Best New Poets, The Laurel Review, The Rumpus, BOMBlog, The Awl, The Millions, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence, is a founder of Mixer, and plays music in Butchers & Bakers and the Roulettes.