• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08


In this room, you may see the fruits
of a thousand hours of labor
tirelessly scouring eBay and garage sales
for the best of what other people no longer want.

It’s amazing what people throw away,
not knowing the value of what they possess;
here, a piece of gum chewed by Mickey Mantle,
there, a box of petrified breakfast cereal
from 1979, pristine, unopened, inedible.

Beside that, a fragment of the true Cross—
the dealer had no papers, but I believe
the provenance to be accurate—
and that? I believe it’s a unicorn’s horn.

On those shelves, my collection of rare
butterflies, displayed in bell jars—and that?
Oh, that’s just an oddity, thrown in with
other, better items, taken in trade.

The taxidermist did a decent job,
affixing the shaved upper body of a rat
to the hind end of a trout; the head’s
likely that of a porcelain doll—

distressed to look older than it is.
Yes, the eyes almost seem to follow you
around the room—dolls’ eyes do that,
you know; I’ve never liked them for that.



That high-pitched sound? It’s not singing.
It’s just the ringing of the air conditioning.
I’m sure it’s all in your imagination—
no, I don’t hear words or pleading.

I’ve no doubt that in time, I’ll pass it along
to some rube who will think that it has value,
in exchange for something he thinks
has no intrinsic worth—

You’ll take it off my hands? It’s just
A curiosity, a hoax, and not a well-made
one at that. Very well. Have your ‘little wonder’
and listen to her ‘song’ all you like.