Television, 1955
Barbara Daniels

I did love it, the grainy black and white,
witch moth flicker, tiny screen. Margo’s house
smelled of dogs: Lassie, Rex, Rin Tin Tin.
Her brother’s stained underwear dipped and lifted

on the backyard clothesline. My parents didn’t believe
in TV, but Roy Rogers rattling from left to right
and right to left again was paradise to me.
Margo stole quarters from the paper route money

to buy us Dr. Peppers and movie magazines.
Marilyn Monroe’s brown nipple fell disturbingly
from her opened dress. I wore dresses with bows
tied in back, white anklets, shiny shoes.

I told Margo about sex. I’d read it in a book.
You’ll like it, I said, but she didn’t believe me.
Television was better than pop, better than teaching
the dogs to fart. I loved the plastic knobs,

the miniature bodies in long gowns, all the little
histories of loss. Late at night, Margo turned up
the brightness. When the test pattern vied with
the moon, I pressed my face against the quiet screen.

 

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