Best of the Net 2013  


—at the annual world's longest yard sale

We had to park a mile away: the truck
my buddy drove like a redneck Charon.
We were always restless in the boondocks.

We were tragically horny. No standards
of emission, the big-block engine belched
and leaked its oil, its unleaded bloodwork

down the rusty undercarriage. We knew
the grass below would brown like a photo.
It was August. Signs swore cockamamie

discounts, a full day's worth of distraction.
Gothic statues graced the highway's exit:
a bare-chested chief in headdress, his arm

raised in endless How; a pink elephant
crunked on some jumbo Cosmopolitan.
We heard the banjo and gut-bucket band,

moos and bleats from the fetid petting-zoo.
We met jugglers, peddlers, and face-painters.
We both made a beaded cross for Jesus.

(O, you plain-faced girls with righteous booties!
This was not like Mule Day. Even Mule Day
was not like Mule Day.) I had hoped to buy

some penny-loafers, a lamp, a pick-axe.
I had hoped to tell him I was leaving.
He was my old friend. He was an orphan.

His name was like a nest, full of sorrow.
After his mother's death, I held his head,
as snug as a gunbutt, to my shoulder.

- Michael Marberry (from Guernica Magazine)