VICTROLA PLAYS ON
It doesn’t matter what month is was
what day of the week, time of day
just that the miracle of that day
will remain with me forever.
You were a welcome visitor
there to wade through several lifetimes
of memorabilia, searching for treasures
amidst the clutter of collections.
We were in the basement, you moved
some this and that and there, tucked
against the wall, my dad’s Victrola,
a flat-top wood cabinet there for ages.
You brushed away generations of cobwebs,
pulled the cabinet out and flipped the top up,
that moment time stopped. You blew away
layers of dust, we coughed in syncopated gasps.
On a gold plate, Victor, and the trademark dog
listening beside the horn, 1922 and the rest
swayed in my bleary eyes.
I watched as you tinkered, tested, and finally
inserted the crank and wound it, slowly. Gasp,
the turntable turned, you gently swiveled
the needle, and it became that moment.
Al Jolson sang, tinny and wobbly, Al Jolson
crooned so sweet, my tears flowed in streams,
my dad hummed along from heaven, you
stood, asking if you could hug me.
My arms opened, my heart leaking onto
your shoulder, that moment, that miracle
returns to me unbidden and so welcome
these many months later and will eternally.
My dad gone ten years, that Victrola hadn’t
played for ages before then but how he loved
that player. No question of me keeping it, you
bought it, but it’s still with me, like my dad, and
always will be. Thank you, Gary, for that day
that, like the Victrola, plays on and on…
J R TUREK is WWBA LI Poet of the Year 2019; Superintendent of Poetry,LI Fair; author of 5 poetry collections; editor, workshop leader, collector of dogs and poems.