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All the preachers claiming it was Satan--

And now the first sets seem more venerable

Than Abraham or Williamsburg

Or the avant-garde, but then nothing,

Not even the bomb, had ever looked so new,

So it seemed almost heretical watching it

When we visited relatives in the city,

Secretly delighting, but saying later,

After church, probably it would not last,

It would destroy things: the standards,

And the sacredness of words in books.

So it was well into the age of color,

And Korea and Little Rock long past,

Before anyone got one, and then some

Of them in the next valley had one,

And you would know them by their lights

Burning late at night, and the recentness

And distance of events entering their talk,

But not one in our valley; for a long time

No one had one, so when the first one

Arrived in the van from the furniture store

And the men had set the box on the lawn,

At first we stood back from it, circling it

As they raised the antenna and staked in

The guy wires before taking it in the door,

And I seem to recall a kind of blue light

Flickering from inside and then a woman

Calling out that they had got it tuned in--

A little fuzzy, a ghost picture, but something

That would stay with us, the way we hurried

Down the dirt road, the stars, the silence,

Then everyone disappearing into the houses.


Rodney Jones

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translated from the Spanish written by
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