The Thrift Store

by STEPHEN NATHAN

I spot the old telephone
black bakelite
rotary dial
a thick fabric-wrapped cord
a marvel in its time
a little tag dangles from it
asking 5 dollars for its magic

I pick up the handset
expecting to hear my childhood
knowing that the calls I made
all the voices I heard (seasoned with laughter and tears)
still echo in the far reaches of time

I want to watch those memories on that old Philco in the corner (15 dollars)
as I heat the dented percolator (a buck and a quarter)
to sip from this chipped well-loved Scooby Doo cup (25 cents)
and learn from my grandfather that memories are food for the present

I scan the store
I’m here someplace I know
sitting on a dusty shelf
lost in these yesterdays
tattered and faded
history spilled all over me
its stains of love and sorrow impossible to remove
and the eyes
one dangling by a frayed thread
the other still ready for more
and my tag
I wonder how much for a lifetime
I was given for free


About the Author

For the past 40 years Nathan has primarily written for film, television and the theater winning, among other acknowledgements, the Humanitas Prize, a Writers Guild Award and two Emmy nominations. He has just begun to share his poetry, some currently featured in Typishly, Cathexis Northwest Press, the Esthetic Apostle and upcoming in a collection from Paragon Press and Cultural Weekly.

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