It is the place where 8-tracks come to die,
where wedding gowns grieve
and work boots, stiff and arthritic
from years in the snow struggle
to straighten their toes.
Off in the corner, three garbage bags full
of a mother's passing wait for a life
to be sorted. Families of aged
dolls, hairlines receding, keep
watch for lost siblings.
In the back, women, supple and tan,
flick hangers across steel poles,
pick over dresses as if choosing
orphaned cats, promising to care
but aware of their right to evict.
And up at the counter, the heavy woman
in a dress weighted with flowers and rosewater
cradles each pair of pants into used
paper bags, breathing good-bye
to the only kin she has left in this world.
Richard Luftig is a professor of educational
psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio. He
is a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award
for Literature and a semi finalist for the Emily Dickinson
Society Award. My poems have appeared in numerous literary
journals in the United States and internationally in Japan,
Canada, Australia, Finland, Bulgaria and England. My third
chapbook of poems was published in 2007.