The lady lays a quarter on the card table
An autocratic offer for an antiquated edition
of Betty Crocker basics
Betty and I go back to my bridal shower
The book is more than a two-bit buy
I say to the Saturday morning insult
Bittersweet menus from a first marriage
flavoring my bargaining ability
But she’s already thrashing through
a throng of scarves
Separating silk wheat from synthetic chaff
Faint whiffs of Ambush fragrance
trapping memories with olfactory talons
That drop me on a Montana farm
Where a fourteen-year-old dabs her first perfume
Reverie interrupted when the skinflint
singles out six scarves and says they stink
So will I settle on fifty cents for the stack
Ambush isn’t manufactured anymore
so the smell is collectible I contend
As her son in one sadistic twist
separates a jewelry box from the ballerina
that once danced my daughter to sleep
And Mr. Scrooge caresses a 22-caliber rifle
Wants to know its past before he purchases
As if a possible heinous act
might haunt him posthumously
But I’m the one besieged by effigies
Of a deer carcass swinging from a barn ceiling
And a father queuing tin cans on a fence
before he teaches his daughter a soft trigger touch
Just the image I need to open fire
With verbal violence aimed inward
Vengeance for pricing my past
Pardon possible when I post a sign saying
Former Lives Free For All
And I leave the nettling family
To negotiate the here and now
To meet the future halfway
First published by PWJ Publishing.
Used with the author's permission.
Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded author of poetry, nonfiction books and essays. Her collection, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest and was published in early 2015. Other recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David's Leg, winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral and The Aurorean's Chapbook Spring Pick for Wild as in Familiar. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She is currently judging the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers. A resident of Sunnyvale, California, Ellaraine is also a professional papermaker who has worked with community projects in that capacity in South Africa and for various U. S. businesses. A video featuring her poetry, handmade papers, and handbound books can be seen here.
Oh Ellaraine, This is a terrific poem.
Have relished your sharp-witted tongue.
Posted 07/27/2014 05:22 PM
Yes! How can you sell a memory?
Posted 07/27/2014 08:44 AM
as always in your poetry, Ellaraine, you've captured life perfectly...so true--love it!
- Sharon Auberle
Posted 07/27/2014 07:52 AM
Yes! Garage sales bring out the best and worst (including the mother who held up her child to use my driveway as a personal comfort station). So hard to part with our "lives."
This poem says it all. Brava!
Posted 07/27/2014 05:26 AM