Poem of the Week

Splice Box & Accompaniment

Flower Conroy

I replay the lick: Isaac Schankler’s rendition of Moon-
light Sonata. Outside, a sun shower. Machinations

of grief complicated further be-
cause it is a distortion of

something known, or something I once thought
familiar. Like mint or clover. Beethoven’s melody but

executed one bar earlier, bass simultaneously one bar
delayed—in effect creating a catastrophe

in the soul. Like a machine in the ghost, it’ll
be this morning’s obsession, a conversation re-

arranged, words acquiring interior meanings: Trace
(unreleased); Soundcloud; Silent Hill-ish. Creating static, combing

through air’s syntax, outside my window, bright
rain pinging against the tin picnic table. It’s as if

I’ve always heard this song’s inner workings unfolding, this
pacing. Of loss. Of sorrow. Like gears festering

at the bottom of a lake. I no longer want to
call this music song, peeling layers back as certain

flowers incrementally exposing seeds. As if one can stave
off grief. It’s milking stone, it’s gold insects what that chord does

inside my throat, here’s where it goes to Castlevania-land, I keep
looping, I keep dipping below surface, im getting spooked. At 5:26,

it begins. The notes tripping over themselves. At 6:11,
a knoll. Like a phone trilling

in the rain. I mean, when on street corners, you
could find phone booths. For a few coins

you could ring someone, maybe reach
them. Sometimes the time would run out.

The operator would disconnect you & you’d be left
talking into a receiver not knowing which words were

heard & which had already become dead air.
But I’m not ready to leave the doubling of, the

moments where the keys become Keatsian
to the touch—flesh made satellite, & so

before striking, striking,
the fingers recoil.

Flower Conroy is an LGBTQ+ artist, an National Endowment for the Arts and MacDowell Fellow, and the former Key West Poet Laureate, as well as the author of Snake Breaking Medusa Disorder, A Sentimental Hairpin, and Greenest Grass (or You Can’t Keep Killing Yourself & Not Expect to Die).
Originally published:
August 3, 2022

Featured

Essays

The Abortion Stories We Tell

Do we need to be more radically honest?
Maggie Doherty

Essays

A Glass Essay

Reading Anne Carson post-breakup
Sarah Chihaya

Essays

For Argument's Sake

In praise of high school debate
Becca Rothfeld

You Might Also Like


Poetry

The Arrow Creek Fire

D. Nurkse

From the Archives

Shéhérazade

Wayne Koestenbaum

Newsletter

Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.