An Oboe for Me and Grandpa

Jeri Frederickson

The oboe solo on the tv slows his shouting to a purr,
his feet tapping its rhythm as the sores break open.
Still his smile lingers as he says no. Always a smile
when he says no. Mom would make us chant
no begging no whining no fussing no crying. And then we
became the no. Couldn’t he hold the glue and finish
our model planes? One at a time, his lungs say no.
Filling thick and slow, to be drained like his martinis,
no and a smile with an oboe. The joints
of my plane could grow wings if he nurtured
soft wood and small things. This flight deck
is a place I want to know, if only if only
if only that oboe would play again.
If only I could know and know and know.

Jeri Frederickson calls Chicago home with her two cats and many plants. She swims in literary, visual, and performing arts as an expression of survival and a channel to nurture love and access beauty while questioning the experiences that hold people together. She graduated from Antioch University Los Angeles with an MFA in Writing. Her chapbook You Are Not Lost is forthcoming in October 2021 from Finishing Line Press. You can find her on IG @jfredcreates and twitter @Jeri_fred.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021