Tape Recorder 1988
Shane Jones

I hear Mark in his bedroom making another memory tape and I can't feel my arms. The child is doomed. I wonder if he blames Alice and I for his condition, some kind of genetic disorder missed inside us but passed through portal, to him. I get up from bed, careful not to wake Alice, and walk to the kitchen where the treatment plan pamphlet sits cruel and ridiculous in its accordion style. I hear the night-clicks of the recorder from Tommy's bedroom, and imagine this poor boy, my son, trying to capture his always changing name, depending on mood, on a black tape recorder. You should see the way he sits, lost-looking and headache-spiraled with the recorder on his lap, speaking as quickly as he possible can into the machine before the words inside blow apart to new letters, unknown names. Here's something my friends who have children never say: having a child is the most painful thing you can do. Alice is no longer Alice. I stand in the kitchen with the pamphlet and hear the recorder clicking on and off, each click a second of time, a cut somewhere inside me. If I'm unlucky, I'll remember everything. His birth name is Kevin.