a box of things

I think back on a box of things
seen purchased at an auction
bought essentially on first sight
a heavy wooden crate with
stamps and labels from where and when
the end of a long brass
policeman's flashlight thrust up out of it
a fin of enticement
and a large piece of that
light green depression glass
everyone loves

and the auctioneer kept pulling things out
it was a big box and he found
a buttonhook and a tea tin
several small glass pitchers
in cloth wrappings
and as he tilted the box out to us
we could see down inside
dark shapes of books unknown lures
within its salient capacity

the bidding was high but swift
past what I could afford
and I followed the victor
to a quiet part of the room
where he examined his requisites
and found the other end of the flashlight
broken out the glassware chipped
several crumbling garments from the 50s
stained by many small rusted metal things
some ration stamps left over from the war
and a large pile of old first edition
readers digest condensed books

I'd never tell you this
and I know it has more to do with the day
the weather the shapes in the clouds
the phase of the moon the tides
but every time see you
over coffee it always seems these days
talk for a while how long
has it been too long
I must remark on your hair which has
of course changed again
brush my eyes across you

and your dress fits like skin
on a small shark your makeup perfect
never more tan more slim and though
I would butter you and have you with tea
eventually as I look furtively into
your eyes for one small glimpse
of what I know must lie within but
will never comprehend I find myself once more
as unable as ever to restrain
my mind comes round again
to that box

© 1996 by Michael McNeilley

Next... more McNeilley...
Back to Zero City Poetry Page.