Brocante

Masks adorned with bits of shell,
mud, hair, and beads; Bakelite

radios with their dials turned
to the last big band swing tune

they must have played; blue
and white patterned plates

and teapots, long-handled spoons,
silver almost pristine next to

yellowed casseroles, rusted iron
tongs and bellows— Is this where

they wind up, more public than
an estate sale: all the things

their owners held close one more time
before deciding they no longer gave that

spark of joy? Their colors, spread out
on blankets and folding picnic tables,

still have the shimmer of faded confetti
in late summer sun. You ask a woman

sitting on a truck bed C’est combien?
pointing to a simple chair with rubbed-

out carvings on the seat and back. When she
hands you change from a ten, you wonder

at your luck and hers; and what it takes for one
thread to unravel from a cardigan, for the missing

piece to turn up in a drawer after the puzzle
no one could ever finish is thrown in the trash.

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