Sound fills every room,
my father’s stereo cranked,
holding the treble,
releasing the bass. Every crack
of dawn floods with midlife nostalgia,
the orgasmic vowels of Seger’s “Turn the Page."
It is a strange sound to wake to,
the sound of a saxophone crying.
The first high whine of brass,
a crisp note held, a stretched balloon stretching
skyward before crashing down
onto a lonely lonesome highway,
east of Omaha, the sound
of an engine’s one lone song.
Out there in the spotlight my father
is a million miles away, cigarette
smoke curling around him like a special effect.
The sad sax goes quiet until Seger walks
into a restaurant, strung out from the road,
Daddy behind him, shakin off the cold.
They been ridin sixteen hours,
with nothin much to do. Seger don’t feel much
like ridin. They just wish the trip was through.
The drum taps one beat like a clock,
like a middle-aged man’s wandering thoughts.
It’s time to get on the road again, but Daddy’s
Harley is dismantled on the basement floor,
pieces of chrome scattered on a blanket
like stars. He pretends it doesn’t bother him,
but he wants to explode. Seger knows
how to head on alone. He goes a capella,
his voice a thin rasp, Daddy singing beside him
on the couch, gravel in their throats.
In unison they lament, there I go. There I go…
They hold that ohhhh so long
it becomes a word of its own.
The sax joins them and they end
in guttural release, applause.