The early birds scanned the lot
looking for something substantial,
Any first drafts or chapters?
I laughed, you kidding, It’s not that kind of sale.
I don’t even have sentences.
Have any tools, editing, formatting, tables, translation?
I sent them all home, there are apps for all that
And, of course, hid my Strunk and White
I was cashing out a full suffix set
Excuse me, excuse me, with a woodpecker finger,
two words that tango, a metaphor using cheese,
assonance that sings at first sight
Never trust a woman with a list
I handed her a shoebox from spelling bees and SATs
Really, If you’re going to be that picky, don’t yard sale
A list means retail
at best, try consignment
The kid in black was tortured
An hour with the phrases, first spreading them across the lawn
Then measuring, stacking, turning up-side down, occasionally backward
No one else could touch them, and I needed them to move
I didn’t want her left-overs back in the house, rejected twice and brooding
I politely led her to the bin of buckleys, they’re building blocks, have faith
She left with two phrases,
dropped her hopes in the I’s
The lady with four kids needed riddles, no luck
My neighbor wanted cute quotes to post. Maybe something on freckles, or quilts
A composer wanting both rhythms and rhymes, the elusive hook,
nope. Those are hard fought, are mine
The man who was lost, looking for equations; My husband snagged him and all afternoon I basked in their duet of beautiful math.
A rapper came late, looking for bargains
We had little to offer
They look for rhymes four to the breath, six to the line
He asked for a paparazzi rhyme (I wouldn’t have sold that)
and settled for sick, thick, wicked and striken
Leaving sock, talk, wanton and distraught
I recommended the second
But he was right, sock-talk sold half-price at noon
Everyone looked at the ideas, confused or horrified, of twenty I sold two.
Ann told me later I shouldn’t have put them out.
Like car seats, mattresses and swimsuits, secondhand ideas are not done.
You expect someone else to pick up the messy thing,
invest their best metaphors and pivotal ‘and yets’ to truss it up.
A lost idea is a pity, an idea undone should be kept in a box in your closet,
or put out to the curb.
A day of repeated rejections, my sweet secrets, wailed
If I must live without loving why did you bring me to be?