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Shopping for a violin

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They said he sold violins
Out of an old house
On that old stretch of Main
Before you get to the light.

234 Main, on the left
They said. They thought
He might still be there
But maybe not. It's been a while.

No sign. I mean, no sign
Of anything. The place
Looked abandoned.
Porch railing rotting

Covered with vines.
We parked around back.
Knock on the back door.
Peering past the dirty curtain.

Inside, movement.
Like a shadow.
Struggling with the doorknob.
The door opens. He's

Just as they described him
Only smaller
And older.
Thick glasses, hair

That looks dusted.
A wig? He mutters something
Turns and we follow.
In the hall, there they are.

All lined up on the floor
In their original cases
Tattered and sad
With a cable running

Through the handles.
Like a chain gang
I remember thinking.
Chained to him

For better or worse.
I wanted to release them,
Shower him with money
Like Bill Gates and call it a day.

But the fact was
We don't have much money
I heard myself say
And felt shitty.

How much are you thinking?
Oh, about $70-$80.
He went to the middle of the gang
And pointed. Try that one.

He pulled the cable out.
Inside the case
Was a sleeping beauty.
Lying in a bed of worn green velvet.

I wanted to ask,
How do I wake her?
But he had returned to his desk
With the little metal cash box

That he opened
With a miniature key.
As we left with the violin
I felt like an intruder.

I knew he would be gone
If not when I turned around
Then tomorrow or the next day.
He didn't belong,

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)

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