top of page


You don't remember buying this twelve-inch vinyl EP by a band named for the white oak tree that stood in Talbot County for more than four hundred years before it fell during a thunderstorm on a night when you were eighteen and stoned in another country. The coarseness of the cardboard sleeve says something sweet to your fingers when you're looking for a good soundtrack for pretending to pretty up this room. A rubber belt drives the platter. You drop the needle on dead wax and wait for the first spiral groove to sing to you. Like the robin that sat inches from your face and told you something you wouldn't have remembered even if you understood it. The record was cut at 45rpm. You don't notice the number on the label until it's too late. This turntable doesn't like 45s anyway. It'll play one, but as soon as the side's over the belt will drop off, and you'll have to pull the platter from the plinth to dig it out and wrap it back around the synchronous motor that makes it spin. You stare at the power lines and skinny trees on the cover. You know something isn't right. It takes you the whole song to parse it out, and by then you don't ever want to hear it at its intended speed. It belongs here, three steps down from where it started, with drums slowed to drowsy body blows and synth squelches made sadder than anything in this key should be. You knock knees with a voice too deep to be real. That can't be her. But it is. She's the acorn that became the oak, and you're a sapling rising from the ruins of what you were cloned from. The base of the thing shakes. Not because it's unbalanced. Because it's dancing. You'd dance too if you weren't so sure the full force of your shimmy would make the record skip. 

bottom of page