In a book picked from a yard sale pile
between music boxes, dried varnished gourds,
and candles that were a gift and never lit.
A forgotten photo wedged in where
the last reader left off.
Like an extra illustration unable
to advance the story,
unbound, ready to fall out but
shelved since the seventies.
His wife took this picture, I guessed,
of him hungover and half off the couch.
I imagined a marriage, far less sweet
than the novel I paid a nickel for.

She didn’t really like
car key parties, and hated
what their nightstand drawer held.
The kind of things not offered up for sale
to early bird neighbors on any Saturday morning ever.
Intimate bric-a-brac she finally double bagged
and shoved deep, after dark,
into the can already at the curb.
All of it gone and long forgotten
years before their children
returned, as children often do,
to empty out the house.


Published in in West Texas Literary Review (Spring 2019)