change the record, By Emma Mastre
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change the record, By Emma Mastre

I’d leave the light on,

keep the door unlocked

(but you know where I hide the key,

the backdoor’s always open for

you and Elijah).

there’s a place set —

your glass is upside down,

so the dust never settles.

your empty chair keeps the room

hollow, foggy

through the fall.


I’m sure if you strolled in late, 

slammed the door,

flung your coat on the staircase

I’d stare; but only for a moment

for the betrayal to my agony only remains.

I can already see it,

asking about your brothers,

joking about the new scratches on your car.

you know so much has happened,

this year,

it only makes sense I’d lose

you, too.


storms hardly linger,

like the constant dirge of 

Sinatra on the 

skipping record. And when I go

to shut the light off,

lock the door, 

blow out the candles,

remove your cutlery,

piece by piece,

a car passes the house, slow,

high beams on

peering in to see if the

house is still there

if it’s still welcoming



I always go, 

sprint, bloody feet

and deceitful eyes.

yet, each moment

I reach the

lawn, you’re gone and its,

just a neighbour, pulling in

after a long night shift.

I’ll play it again and again,

until the story changes 

and the record ends.


(I’ve left the light off


it’s been weeks.)


Knowing I’d drop everything,

with these bloody palms 

and a scratched up throat;

such keen and desperate awareness

of my mother’s curse

keeps my end of the line dead. 


maybe the next dinner you crash,

when you arrive on time

I will scream relentlessly,

until spit colours the picture frames as the

world blackens and blurs,

choking on wordless gasps, devoid of any

sarcasm to redeem and mend

the veils that have shattered 

and eternally scarred my hands from 

piecing together, the futureless moment

suspended in time.