by Ann Cefola
From Fall 2016
When I hug Pet Sounds, tear off its cellophane, pull paper sleeve from red cover, release the jewel-like onyx disk on fingertips, drop onto turntable already spinning, lift needle to groove, arm dipping record as if warped, and sit back through static blips as the sharp tip speeds inward, you are with me; those initial full turns, college mixer, slow dancing with Bronx boy, rough denim against me; Wouldn’t It Be Nice? Doesn’t he look just like Dennis? Point circling closer to those eight introductory harp-like chords, mandolin and detuned 12-string, that send girls love-sick over calls that never come to dial each other to madly tune clock-radios to final notes of our dreamy hormones and hymns, on knees praying parents allow a rock concert, they do, proof of something there there God only knows, riding wave of anticipation, this is it, friends and I flow down Sixth neon with strangers and traffic, into the Garden’s great cavern, lights dim, thousands scream at bomp of snare before Wouldn’t, California our destination, but we make do, Jones Beach so wide I have to find lifeguard chairs to spot girlfriends who glisten in baby oil, set up FM transistors, break out colas, then drive home lulled by ocean air and Long Island sun; summers we feel somehow owed before the complex celeste, accordion, and sax of our lives kick in, across time, across the Beacon Theater, where you, Brian Wilson, study my face in the mezzanine, first to orchestrate my chaotic heart, promise to perform the entire Pet Sounds, collapse forty years in forty minutes, oh diamond finally on track, prayer never uttered answered, and once again, I wait for that single drum beat to explode.