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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

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