First Television

Before we had our own
I crossed the street to watch one
in the drugstore window.
Neighbors would gather to gaze
at the flickering brightness,
an aperture into another world.

We had to work together
to purchase our own.
Sitting on my chenille bedspread
I lined up coins between the rows
of knotted thread.
Long rows of pennies, nickels and dimes,
my fingers metallic to the taste.

We shared a common dream,
the family sitting around a glowing screen,
warmed by this subdued fire.

When the day finally came,
the massive brown box arrived
set up dominion over the living room,
hypnotized everyone’s evening attention.

The next year my father boycotted
wrestling because of the beer commercials.
Even then, I knew this was fruitless.

We entered the modern era,
each at our own measured pace.