Dear Best Buy Employee,

I guess this could be an apology letter, 
of sorts, because I’m sorry, I really am, 
for stroking those sound bars into their own 
sonic, semi-erotic oblivion. Giggling all the way 
to the flat screens and pressing their power
buttons in pivot so that all your beats pills screamed
yes, they are still in stock. Did you know 
that everything in your store can be taught 
to speak with one another? Even those new 
refrigerators have their own conversations 
when you open them up. I could lie to you, 
tell you I wanted to find out if the surround sound 
really could blanket us, fill this Best Buy to the rim 
with noise. With that kind of silence. I could tell you 
how I used to sustain every key on the organ 
setting of my keyboard and, sometime later,
I could tell you how I’d let go. I’ve heard 
that, as a teen, my mother had a bird whose song 
was so beautiful it couldn’t bear to close 
its beak. A sound you could understand, maybe. 
I’ve heard she lost sleep. I’ve heard, specifically, 
that my mother’s bird shit the cage one day
until it fell from its perch, wings spread, settling 
much like a plastic bag on the highway, only 
to be kicked up, something divine, to the undercarriage
of an eighteen-wheeler, heading straight 
and directionless, not one of its tires ever leaving 
the ground. But really, I’m sorry because 
you: at an all-out sprint, neck turning 
red the way it always has when you hurry and you: 
dead-set on stopping those damned 
machines, on finding the culprit, on finding me, 
didn’t see her, turned toward me in disbelief,
gorgeous and smiling and comfortable in the light 
of what I have just done, understanding 
I’ve done none of this for you, Best Buy Employee,
but for her: who steps across the road, opening 
her mouth to tell me there are no cars 
on their way, right now. Nothing 
coming toward us, at all.

DARIUS ATEFAT-PECKHAM is an Iranian-American poet and essayist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Texas Review, Nimrod, Brevity, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. In 2018, Atefat-Peckham was selected by the Library of Congress as a National Student Poet, the nation’s highest honor presented to youth poets writing original work. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including My Shadow is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora (University of Texas Press). Atefat-Peckham lives in Huntington, West Virginia, and will be attending Harvard College in the fall.

Instagram: @d.ap_