among the junk-
the once important things.
She waits for buyers, strangers-
soon to be acquaintances.
They’re her currency
for the second-hand treasures
transforming into magnificent clutter.
She in the morning light
as it makes it way above us all.
She gets the stillness of the soundless world
before the buzzing cars, the monotony
of corporations. Before the stilling
plainness of the small-town zombies.
She gets to view it all.
The grandeur of her junkyard.
This posh role of seeing the fragments of her
She’s out there on her porch
because her youngest son is shit with money
and his visions, his dreams
were more than him.
She still smiles at every buyer.
She gives discounts and deals
on every piece of past
because she’s the mother, the queen.
She can’t allow one of her own to become
A mindless wanderer who once dreamed.
She’s selling our old lives
At any price to ensure her kin
Is something of a star,
Not a destructive supernova, burning out
destroying it all too soon.
At the end of the weekend
she calls me and I can hear
how raspy her voice is from shouting
the deals, from the thirty cigarettes she smoked.
I hear something else through the raspy chords,
I hear this giddiness, this child-like chime
like when someone tells you’re the winner
among all the other hopefuls.
Ben Westlie holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of four chapbooks of poems, most recently UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE all published by Finishing Line Press. His poems have appeared in the anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 selected and edited by Naomi Shihab Nye and in the journals The Fourth River, Third Coast, Atlas and Alice, The Talking Stick, the tiny journal, Trampset and ArLiJo (Arlington Literary Journal).