“Plus, I wouldn’t,” he went on warning, “dive into that bit about Queen too soon,” giving a jerky heave to his rake to uproot a flower mound, my brother, who seemed pure muscle to me as he toiled in the yard. As he toiled out near the golf links fence, dividing thistle from a rock bed, and rocks from the soil. 1983, I’d guess, and I’d just stumbled upon a link between Auden’s elegy to Yeats, wherein ‘The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day’ and, wouldn’t you guess it, Freddie Mercury; the next day at school, I’d be giving a speech precisely upon the matter: upon Auden’s ‘wolves,’ which howled like ‘the multitude there’ from Queen’s “The Prophet’s Song,” upon Auden’s ‘snow’ that ‘disfigured the public statues’ not a bit unlike Brian May’s ‘love gone stale,’ not to mention, as I far as I figured it, his ‘ice cold hearts’ or ‘the cold of night.’ Then, my brother added, “As far as the ‘nurses and rumours’ part goes, or that ‘silence’ that ‘invaded the suburbs,’ you’re better off using Rumours.” Rumours, of course, by Fleetwood Mac who (in 1984, when The Smiths came on the scene) my brother would turn his back on entirely, just as he’d do to The Smiths in favor of—wouldn’t you know it— Queen, in that unforeseen boost in sales they enjoyed on the death of Mercury, lacking all muscle, whose face my brother lit fire to later, a psychedelic poster, the details of which, as a family, we still debate. Though it’s safe to assume my brother felt somewhat ‘in the cell of himself’ and ‘convinced of his own freedom.’

DAVID J DANIELS has work appearing in Boston Review, Pleiades, and Gulf Coast. He is the author of two collections: Breakfast in the Suburbs (a chapbook, 2012, Seven Kitchens Press) and Clean (forthcoming, 2014, Four Way Books Intro Prize). He teaches in the University Writing Program at the University of Denver.