The design shop owner talked on her phone to a friend,
a big brown box of Grandma’s china sat on the counter,
an arc of my covenant, an opening in top where the
word could get out, but not this day.
Yes, she would see her friend soon, the owner said.
She walked around a table in burnt umber and talked
and gazed to the sun and mouthed words
and I faded. Could I give this up?
These willows and peacock hovering in
blue jasmine on bone white? Came out on holidays
and we saw them and admired them and Grandma
ran her hand across them and gazed into our past.
Grandma always said it was Blue Willow,
a special kind of plate with a special pattern with a
special kind of value, too. Did she know the difference?
The woman and others, too, shook their heads.
My throwing-out period began a few weeks before,
and I went to a shop and a crusted old man
with skin bone white and dirt patina
said he would give me $20 for it all.
What? I should just give away my arc?
Yeah, I know it’s not Blue Willow and, yeah,
I know the market has gone to hell
in a brown box, but for that? Just that? I went away.
I waited for the woman. When she put down her
phone, she said, yeah, not so much.
And I went back to the dirt man and
he was closed. For the day.
Sun came up warm now with a promise of even
warmer as April dawned. “When does he open?”
meaning that day, I asked.
“Come back tomorrow morning.” a man said.