Estate Sale

It’s an old turntable with a speaker horn, the kind you wind up,
what my grandmother used to call a Victrola,
even though she was referring to my Hitachi stereo system.

It takes me a moment to figure out how to do this,
how to turn the handle without causing the machine to slide off the table,
that I need to support it with my other hand to keep it steady.

There are three records included, all of them ones my grandmother would have loved:
Oh You Beautiful Doll, Down by the Old Mill Stream, and By the Light of the Silvery Moon,
all 78 rpm discs, the only speed this player has.

Oh You Beautiful Doll slows to a premature stop,
the words Let me put my arms around you sounding
the way Boris Karloff might say it as The Mummy.

“Your Grandmama goes only so fast,” my grandfather would say,
“because she is built for comfort, and not for speed,”
and he would smile every time while my grandmother rolled her eyes.

The woman tells me it can’t get through an entire song,
which doesn’t deter me, though the high price does,
no matter how great the nostalgia value.

I already know I’ll not be buying this antique,
but I have to wind up the machine carefully so I can hear
that one song all the way to the end.

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