Ruling Dichotomy


She strolls among the old and dusty,
the fox-eared, the stained,
her hand guiding  long, blonde strands back
while bending down,
eyes squinting to inspect Lladro for
fine cracks and chips.
Irish linen dances lightly over palms,
lovely find at a garage sale among  worn towels

She gently places a peeling, headboard in the back
of her well scrubbed truck –
returning home, her hands task with washing,
folding and refinishing,
tagging  items with a calligraphers’ stealth,
tying tags with grosgrain ribbon and
a small,  perfect bow.

Weekends devoted to selling antiques,
shop full of charm and conversation.
Customers in nostalgic refrain say,
“my grandmother had one of those!” or
“ I remember that well -my sister now has it.”
Thoughts ripen and flood through a childhood keyhole
recalling  Wallace Sterling, Lalique and ‘Blue Onion’,
‘things’ that one wishes they would have kept.
She listens as a ‘ repressed memory’ therapist,
the heartache for the grandfather with dementia
who brought the lovely Italian cameo home in ‘45’,
the Aunt with the Milk Glass who had a heart attack and her kids
threw her collection away –
she’s heard it all, the finds, the pawning, the giveaways
and  placed a kind and well manicured hand upon those
suddenly distraught by misty memories
as well as those with  laughter and thrill
upon finding the perfect gift.

When she has free moments,
she’s back on the antique prowl
a trained eye always on guard
wondering if this garage or estate sale will
bear fruit,
make a profit.

She can’t risk a mistake in judgment
She can’t risk not closing the deal.

On Mondays she’s ready for a new hunt,
she dons her work shirt,
gloves, boots, ropes and poles
wondering what she will find
at the end of the large hooks threaded with putrid bait
placed in lakes during the week-
always the result of a complaint,
a “nuisance” gator plaguing many a Florida community.

The hands so adept at handling Belleek
pull in a 7 foot, agitated reptile,
rolling, thrashing and straining against the rope.
Once restrained, the blond hair flails in the Atlantic breeze
while sitting atop a prehistoric ride
binding tape around an unwilling snout,
blocking the eyes from reading the light
keeping the feet tucked in tight –
She and co-worker lift the subdued animal into the truck
her fingers probe the leathery hide for life details,
pointing out patterns, variations: the beauty IN the beast,
inspecting it just as she would a potential purchase.

Speaking with great respect for her captive victims,
she pats a generous white, textured belly, “he’s been well fed,”
explaining that people make a mistake in feeding wildlife.

She removes her gloves,
rewinds her ropes,
eyes watchful on the now quiet catch.
from fine relics to the trapping of gators,
her brain focused on present and past,
the ruling dichotomy of her life.

Later, after unloading her bounty
she will hose down the truck
just in case she spots something
to be transformed into “shabby chic”.
I asked her once, “do you dream of gators?”
“Yes”, she replied, “in my dreams I’m always on the hunt,
always looking for a head about to submerge, glowing eyes and
jaws jacked for action.”
She talks about a recent close call
splaying her fingers in the warm, Spring sun
as if to make sure
all digits
are accounted for,

She can’t risk a mistake in judgment
She can’t risk not closing the deal…
??????????????????????????????? This is a true story!

5 thoughts on “Ruling Dichotomy

  1. You never cease to amaze me. This poem describes a woman with manicured nails, constantly searching for garage sale finds then turning into this strong, fearless woman taking down an alligator. I would like to meet this woman!

  2. Absolutely beautiful and mysterious. So much to love about this. Yes, the dichotomy for sure, but much more. I’ll point out one: the keyhole to childhood. Beautiful words and thoughts.

  3. Thank you for your wonderful post. She is a amazing person and the best daughter anyone could have. Her family is very proud of her and thankful she is living her life as she wishes. She is a independant woman with a strong will.

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