Saturday, March 15, 2014

Poem: Reel to Reel

Reel to Reel

I was standing in line
for tape decks
two for one
and these tape decks didn’t record sound but
loss, and
grief, and
the answers you remembered right after the
algebra quiz but it
didn’t matter
they took the points off anyway.

The old man in front of me
in the line, his name was Alex
he was afraid he wouldn’t know how to use it
the tape deck
because he hardly knew how to
program the VCR
boot up the computer
open the garage door
say he was sorry.

His wife was Betty
and he needed the tape deck for
the unfortunate sentence
the missed embrace
the long hours of silence behind the paper
in front of the evening news
while she waited by the fire, knitting
quiet, patient.

When the lady asked him, he said
I need lots of tape
five dozen
two hours each.

She didn’t tell me she was leaving.

First published in Eureka Literary Magazine
(Eureka, Illinois)
From the collection Great Showtunes of the American Stage  

Photo by MJV

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