The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Rodney Torreson
I’m Just the Driver to this Second-Hand Store
The guy I drove here goes his own way.
Over here a set of glasses, one chipped
on the rim looks slightly rankled, the way I feel
in my impatience to get out of here. Old clocks
worn down to the hour they have stopped; I’d refuse
to have mine rewound: one time through is enough.
All my decades—with the musty breath of a museum—
come at me from around each corner. The few folks
here are so quiet that I hear the breathy gasp of Tupperware
as a lady, mid 40s, pops shut a lid. Silence
coagulates and is processed like cheese.
Under a bare light bulb that tries too hard
to look enthralled, an elderly man whirls a carousel,
a silver turnstile, to another year.
On short-sleeved shirts, collars, like old pennants,
are curled up; on another rack are slacks, surely one
with a bedeviled zipper, another ironed to a shine
to make a runway for the past. And here inside
a glassy showcase an “I Like Ike” button.
But it’s the darkness of the imagined pin
that stabs me: “Kennedy was killed.”
Across the aisles, a barren table blindfolded
with a table cloth, as if to keep it in the dark
about where it’s ended up. Separate are these chairs
that don’t have any ties to the table.
Every item is alone, and the past barely
breathes, causing sweat to journey down
my forehead. I must settle these shadows,
then do something slick, like sit
in the new coffee shop up the street.
I want to corner the guy I brought here,
drag out his promise to leave in a minute.
In a toaster, its shiny silver mirror shows
too much morning cheer, as if it wants me
to raise a toast to my aging face.
Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication