Barbara

You are an antique store.

Most of what is sold

is from the thirties

and forties.

There are clocks,

armoires, chairs,

a boat’s helm,

sextants, pieces of a sail,

a boatswain.

 

Everything is covered

in charcoal

and desert dust.

 

I come here

to remind myself

what to call the ocean,

to remember

the punch of the waves.

 

I come here

to stroll the aisles

newly stocked

with ancient.

 

There is always

a woman

browsing through

the piles of time.

By now,

she is much younger

than I am.

She has never left.

 

Whenever I look at her

the music in the store

switches to Sinatra

constantly skipping.

 

At the register,

she is prodigious in her attempts

to purchase

old relics

from places

she once visited

using her eyelashes

as currency

waving them up and down

in front

of the store owner,

promising all of his wishes

will come true.

The owner

insists on cash.

 

Without her eyelashes

her eyes look cold, naked;

tender blocks of ice.

I feel terrible for her,

a shiver crawls up

the length of my spine.

 

I offer her my coat,

but she refuses,

and walks away

to get lost

in the further depths

of the store

where she will be forgotten

and won’t know the difference.

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