Patrick Bower

The night before, I mark my weekend route
on a fold-out map of the metropolitan area

with a Ball Jar full of tacks, a cup of tea,
junk shops, charity stores, antiques.

I start northside to catch Value Village as it opens,
then down the block to Aunt Teek’s Emporium.

It’s a two-mile jog to the Glenn Cove Mall for
Thrifty Threads, then Salvation Station

to thumb through stacks of denim
worn thin in the strangest places.

Center of town there’s a basement in the old Savings Bank
where vendors set up stalls in the cavernous vault, heaps of

worsted woolen blankets, cracked leather jackets and army surplus
covered in a fine layer of mortar and gold dust. They say

someone lives down there, camped out among the bales of fabric.

The southern spots are mostly bungalow shells
packed rafter-high with estate sale goods.

How does it feel to be in a room lined with
two tons of Lee jeans and musty textiles?

Like you could fall backward through time, like
the shed skin cells of a thousand old ladies

might burst into a newborn galaxy
if you should pick something out

and shake it.

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Patrick Bower lives in New York City, where he writes copy for a living. His poems have appeared in The Corner Club Press, 805 Lit, Sheila-Na-Gig, Lit.cat, and New York Dreaming.