“Our Little Angel” by Elvis Costello


The twenty-seventh time Serena called the man he answered his phone, and told her, I’m busy. Serena thought that meant to call another day. She called two days later and he was still busy. She called back three days later and he was still busy. She called four days later and he picked up the phone and yelled into the receiver, don’t EVER call again! Why did she want him so badly?  He didn’t want her in the same way she wanted him. Is that what Costello’s song is about? Sorry, Elvis, Serena must say, she knows people think they can translate each word that you write, as if we wrote the songs, not you. Serena wants you to know on Saturdays she used to play one of your albums, actually a cassette, as she cleaned her apartment. When it came time to vacuum she turned the volume down, and she sang the same two lines, “Like a chainsaw running through a dictionary,” followed by “In a white dress she wears like a question mark.” Both from the same song. She doesn’t need to tell you the name of it, but you dear readers everywhere, may want to know. It’s called “Our Little Angel.”

-Lori Lynn Turner

Lori Lynn Turner PhotoLori Lynn Turner is an associate director of the Creative Writing Program. Her nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food, the literary journal Killing the Angel and in The Brooklyn Rail. She just completed a memoir It’s in the House and is working on a novella Serena’s Home.

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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.

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