Strummer Hoffston

Jimmy Page calls my father in the middle of the night, but he’s sleeping, and he’s not my father, he’s a boy in Philadelphia. His grandmother takes the call, doesn’t want to wake him, and it gets worse, she starts up again about the vacuum in the morning, his mother bought the wrong one and so she pulls her hair, spits in her face, and throws her against the wall.Then the boy is between the two of them breaking it up. He’ll write about it in a letter 30 years later: “I grew up with screaming and yelling that never stopped.” He wants forgiveness, but I’m 15 and have yet to empathize. My father wore Jimmy Page’s guitar pick around his neck for 10 years, sold the Zeppelin scrapbook for a grand even with water damage. A year passes with no contact before I get on a Greyhound and show up at the record store. I haven’t been since it opened and my father is embarrassed as we reunite in front of the staff, who don’t know the particulars but have their guesses watching us embrace and cry. My father says you can hear the guitar strings bend on “Whole Lotta Love.” In 1973, he was in the second row when Jimmy Page handed him the pick and it almost killed him, this return of affection, the way in which my father’s love was plainly detected.


Found In Volume 48, No. 02
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Strummer Hoffston
About the Author

Strummer Hoffston is a writer living in New York City. She’s the recipient of fellowships from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she earned her MFA in 2017. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fence, Salt Hill, and Epiphany, where she was winner of the 2016 Emerging Writers Prize.