An Old Broad’s Belongings

Summer, 2005 / No. 14

When the old broad who lived across the

road went kaput, I thought, “I hope no one

ever refers to me as ‘the old broad,’” and the sick chambers

of my brain wondered (in this heat)

if she’d been up there long. The broad’s kids

parked haphazardly in her lane and hustled from their cars.

The two daughters, dressed as garish gerber daisies,

cleaned house, while the son (a capital-V virgin, I’m sure)

played javelin with the stake of a For Sale sign;

after several puncture wounds to the lawn, it stood erect.

I’d been to estate sales before, but not like this—

the impression of her lower lip, Violet No. 21, imprinted

on her water goblet (selling for a dime), and the dregs

of her final breath still crawling out the front door.