• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

Attic Sale

Come in, come in! We have sorted
what’s on sale and put it up front.
We’re not selling the letters
to my great-grandmother Annie Dunn
from her brothers and lover
as they fought for the Union
in the Civil War. Lots of mud
and bad food. Illegible, the ink
has faded to the color of blood,
we feel we must hold them.

The stack of what we are selling
is small. I’m wearing the fifty-year-old
Irish wool fisherman’s sweater
my mother knit for my father.
Excuse the missing buttons.

The furniture from their marriage
I can part with because our own stuff
has grown beyond our means
to keep. Our children’s artwork,
the Barbie Corvettes and rock
collections, and their Ph. D.
dissertations take up space.
The children are still alive.
Not a day goes by without gratitude
for our kids, but we can’t sell their stuff
yet. Not without quarrels.


Attic Sale

I’d sell that painting of my German
great-great grandparents if anyone
would pay more that five dollars
for this portrait of the glummest
people on earth.

As for words the dead said, they hang
here somewhere.
Maybe the kids will find them
when we die.