It was freezing today at the flea market,
not much for sale, not a cent on me.
With a checkbook, it’s never too cold to haggle.
I bought an elephant, right foot nudging a blue ball,
ears flared, trunk curled upward in triumph.
When it comes to animal planters, I’ve no willpower.
My shelves are lined: three kittens in shoe,
grinning bear on log, cocker spaniel under mailbox.
Not to mention koala hugging tree,
buck-toothed rabbit or kangaroo,
ponies, swans, dogs, donkeys, ducks,
two deer, fawn and doe intertwined,
green stallion flying, red fox and a maroon goose
with a polka-dot kerchief.
Last week as I lingered at his table, a seller asks,
Aren’t you the lady who bought a wood duck?
Oh, you remembered, I answer to save time
from haggling over two planter/bookends,
magnificent rams’ heads, though
I couldn’t say which of my wood ducks he meant.
I’ve found them from Montreal to San Francisco,
in Boston’s antique shoppes, dusty barns in Ohio.
I still grieve for the overpriced cockatoo in Canton,
slightly chipped panther left behind.
Thousands wait to be saved from the dumpster.
It’s only a matter of shelf space and stamina.
I can’t stop. I’ve become the SPCA for animal planters.
This poem first appeared in U.S.1 Worksheets, 2004.
Used here with the author's permission.