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SELLING LIVES

SELLING      LIVES.    

Friday is free display day
For the old, the poor,
Plastc sheets spread over rain-filled  
Paths through the market square.

Step aside for an old woman
With a lined face
Equally dodging the puddles,
Automatic mutual glance.
Didn’t know her but she looked 
A bit like someone I knew long since,
Seeing through her wrinkles I felt I saw
What she used to be
Used to do in life.

Followed her back to her plastic sheet,
Here were her dreams
Displayed.  Taped down against
The blustery wind,  the story of her life.
Her long tear-filled pathway.
Small plastic toys long-unused
Cheap necklaces and  lapel decor
Photos of  a wedding, 
An even older photo of a soldier
Who survived the Somme,
Damp dog-eared paperback 
Of  The Mayor of Casterbridge,
A few  pairs of worn gloves.
Some once-fashionable  stiletto heels:
Dancing ribbons and trophies -
Photos of parties long ago.    

Her life on display and on sale.
Decades of effort now 
Half-covered against the rain
Half-exposed to buyers,
Family connections in frames for a few cents.
Stress and practice till 
The 1959 Cha-cha-cha  Prize was claimed -
Today yours for a dollar.

She asked momentarily
If I was perhaps a boxer
Seeing my medals on my sheet.
No, I explained, they were
My class student’s last awards 
Before he went to Khe Sanh.


12 February  2020
NOTE    -   This  poem is set in Udelnaya market.  Like many of my other poems.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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