Cover Image

You need one for every finger

you’ve got. No more. No less.

The 1st has to reel her in.

Catch her off guard. Make her

bloom in the wintertime or

persevere like those flowers

that grow in the cracks of sidewalks.

It should make her jump on her mattress

and put its metal springs to the test.


You need to cater to her, but also yourself.

You need to spark old memories and create

new ones. She should read into the songs.

Think they’re about her. She’ll look up

the words. Listen. Repeat.


She’ll hum number 6 when grocery shopping

(doodumdee as she picks JIF over Skippy,

bababum as she weighs fruit by the pound).

The wincing made by the finger plucking

of a chord progression in number 2 should

haunt her as she pulls apart awful waffles

at a diner in the middle of the night.


She should start singing the beginning

of the next song before the current one ends.

Light a candle to number 8, and she’ll watch

its flickering shadow on the ceiling, and feel

alive in the past and present, discover time travel

in the comfort of her room. There must be one

she’s bound to skip, maybe number 7; it will be

too much or not enough, she won’t care for it.


Let number 3 feel like saturated sea foam mosaics

littered throughout your neighborhood’s kitchens,

the kind they don’t make anymore, the kind they

tried to recreate but leave you feeling lackluster.


4 should remind her of that day wooden floors

replaced carpet, when her last name became

hyphenated, let her wallow in the feelings

she thought she has forgotten.

5 will go unnoticed the first time, but she’ll learn

to love it once her ears snuggle into the perfect

position under the patchwork quilt covers

in the bed of soft, web-woven vocals.


9 should be personal and one of the longer songs;

it should be about giving and taking, and make her

think of holiday lights in the garden and how they

competed against your mother’s geraniums.

10 will be a swing: it’ll push her up only to push her

back down, it will make her think of pendulums

and slow pony rides that go in circles.


Write the month/day/year. Only list titles.

Make her work to take the gloves off of the hands

that made the melodies. She will shake off the dust

in a decade or two and think of you. It’ll feel like

a mouthful of raw honey, the sand-like sugary thickness

will wrestle with her tongue and remind her of flooring

changes and lights and unexpected transitions. 

Created: May 30, 2012


dianasev Document Media