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Ode to a Realistic AM/FM Radio at a Church Rummage Sale

What drew me was the rectangular squat of it,

the hefty boxful of sound you could plant

on a desk or shelf, its walnut veneer

nested among cables, chargers and string lights.

Next to me, a man inspecting a pair of headphones

saw me turn the radio over to check the tag

and smiled, more to himself than at me,

and I don’t know why I told him

my dad had a radio just like it and, isn’t it cool,

those three silver dials and a lighted tuning

scale so you can see what station you’re looking for?

He picked up a scratched iPod before I could say,

Look—no battery pack or carrying strap! So when

your mother settles down to her talk show,

she’s bound to stay where she is, paying bills

or reading or filing her nails, just like my dad

when he turned on his shiny Panasonic, permanently

set at DZFX contemporary sound of radio in Makati

while he signed papers or typed on the Smith Corona

as I sprawled on the rug, knowing he’d stay

riveted until Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7,

performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

and conducted by Karl Böhm, reached its grand finale.

But for now the first movement was just gaining momentum.

It would be a while before the tsunami of brass

and strings that broke through the staticky silence would end

in applause and we’d stand up to do the routine

things around the house—but not yet—

not while that spell of sound held us,

pouring from a silver box rooted to the wall

and my father, leaning back in his chair,

eyes fixed in the middle distance between desk

and darkening window, wasn’t going anywhere,

and the brown shag rug beneath us wasn’t going anywhere.

from What Happens is NeitherFind more by Angela Narciso Torres at the library

Copyright © 2021 Angela Narciso Torres
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Angela Narciso Torres Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.