My mother spent evenings listening to records.
Years of evenings.
78’s and 33’s, and only big band swing.
All named after the band leader.
The bands are largely forgotten now,
but there were Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey,
Woody Herman and Harry James,
Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.
My mother, widowed and jobless,
Played the music of her courtship,
Of a yet unburdened future,
At least twice a week.
I never liked the music,
But had nowhere else to go,
And absorbed it despite myself,
Melodies lingering decades later.
In cleaning out her house
I couldn’t throw away the records
And suitcased them back home.
Never played, almost forgotten.
They’re serious collectibles now,
Worthwhile selling off,
But I can’t discard the future
She almost had.