To the Goodwill Warehouse off Queens Boulevard
I’ve been in many a thrift store,
but none as calamitous,
as alive, as you.
The others, they all
charge so much that the
fun in them is in laughing
at the price tags, not walking
out with a jacket worn and dusted
that probably covered the back of
someone much stronger, much
harder working, than you.
Your prices, still, are laughable,
but hardly in the same fashion.
You charge for clothes
as the butcher does for meat;
the only price tags to be found
are on the odd jacket, or shirt,
or pair of pin-striped trousers
from some other store, long forgotten,
charging as much for a hat as you would
for four and a half pounds
of assorted memories.
And the way your patrons flock and gather
like sheep waiting to be let out to pasture,
like bulls waiting to run,
like waves waiting to crest,
is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
So excited and so human, like
the woman who translated into Spanish
the English words of your employee
who hushed the masses with a filthy hand,
and warned mothers and fathers
of the immense, child-crushing weight
of the bins and the shoes and shirts
and glass and wood within them,
“¡Agarran la mano del niño!”
All swept up in the frenzy,
we searched and searched, through
bin after bin for nothing in particular
hoping to find in the haystacks a needle
or maybe a nice t-shirt celebrating the
Kraus Family Bocci Tournament of 2012,
but only ever finding a
glove with three fingers cut off
or a shirt that reads, in letters white on black:
“HOMELESS WITH A MORTGAGE”.
Through pound after pound we searched
until by the blue shirted shepherds
we were corralled back into
our pen, and paying in pennies for our
plunder, we walked,
into the rain.
4.10 - 4.11.16