Issue > Poetry
Shawn Delgado

Shawn Delgado

Shawn Delgado earned his bachelor's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a recent graduate of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His poetry has appeared in Terminus Magazine, Connotations, and in his chapbook A Sky Half-Dismantled. He currently teaches at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Put The Needle To The Record

Each noise rides a wave in, sends a quiver to the sapphire
that grinds the imprint of each sound, cuts a furrow
in fallow vinyl. Be careful, any extra whisper or misstep
in a scale can be replayed, and there's little time for apologies

that half-change nothing. It's in the ledger
of a record, buried in a corkscrew of grooves.
The recorder bobs to each instrument, makes final drafts
of moments, so when needle contacts wax

that tip becomes a gatekeeper with no favored tones:
Grandmasters can't cut to the front of the line, leave feedback
at the back of the track. Such a simple principle, though I can't grasp
how the wiggle on a stylus can free every note at once, unpack

the layered waves. It's an acoustic truth, and I'll never be
able to dismiss this honesty like digital's foreign tongue
of ones and zeroes. It's a physical fact with no spin but its own orbit.
All these ditches look the same, so the Isley Brothers

could be Beethoven until a needle settles its nose into the spiral
exposing the notes' tones. It doesn't need eyes:
this sharp observer is a perfect ear. The platter turns. The sounds bloom.
The round ripples fill the squarest rooms.


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