Monday, May 26, 2014

Mannequin Rivalry (A Poem)


My mother is the best shop-mate,
First morning of fall and we survey
The thrift shop, eyes as keen
As hungry pigeons in the
Shopping center parking lot,
We forage for the perfect find.
The building is about as old as time,
Store window facing the road,
My every step calls for a rickety squeak
From dampened corners, musty of mildew,
Dust bunnies fluttering like
The gray ghosts of butterflies.
Two rusty double doors the shop-keepers
sci-fi portal to some vintage paradise.
I smile, thinking this trip deserves a ticket,
Roomful of weird things,
A perfect meeting place for six decades
Worth of discarded memories, mummified.
Somewhere in a dusty drawer
There waits the perfect pair of blue jeans
Yet I sift through a shelf-full of books,
The gift of their reading retired now for years,
And pluck a volume of feminist poems
From its perch of paint chips and old prayers,
A fifty-cent treat to my muse.
Meantime, my mom spins a circular rack of clothing,
A sort of middle age dance of glory,
She thinks she needs another winter sweater.
Out of the corner of my eye
I notice the pale eyes of a mannequin,
She watches us from her shadowed corner perch,
Smiling between her pink 60’s lipstick,
Palms open and raised,
Cheaply dressed news lady reporting cooler days,
Fingers pointing upward,
Metal of her knuckles frozen that way by age
And I imagine her saying,
“Everyone who dies travels north,
Be leery of the freezing rain,
Wind-chill nearing zero.”

Written for Sunday Whirl and Magpie Tales.


  1. For about ten years I followed my wife around on her antiquing/collecting/thrifting forays around Florida, always ending up in the Dusty Books section while she scouted the rest of the goods. How come no one just throws out their old books? They end up there. Every one who thrifts I think hopes to find that first edition of "Moby-Dick" hidden back of the front row of books on the bottom shelf. Great sense of the communion of mother and daughter here, strained against the pathos of what deadends and gets tossed away.

  2. Love "vintage paradise". I love nothing so much as a good thrift store and finding a treasure! Love the closing lines of your poem - especially "everyone who dies travels north".

  3. I find no thrill on sifting through used stuff, but I have friends who love it.. you describe it so well.. your mother finding things she don't need, and you avoiding looking for the things you need.. still very well described.

  4. "Everyone who dies travels north." What about those of us who'll be heading - south? :-)

    1. hahaha...our spirits hang around the dark corners of the thrift shops? lol

  5. I love to do the thrift shops and antique stores, Stacy. It was nice that you (or your poet muse) and your mom could go together. I have a couple of eBay bargain finds recently, one a dollar and the other a "a fifty-cent treat to my muse" also.
    My fifty-cent treasure: Traveling with the Innocents Abroad; Mark Twain's Original Reports from Europe and the Holy Land

  6. ha. interesting bit of dialogue there in the end...i love these kinda places....a great meeting place of six decades for sure....smiles.....there is a flea market in my home town...i love to go still on saturdays when i am can find almost anything.....

  7. How well you describe the lust, finding something new treasure amongst old junk with your best shop mate.

  8. wouldn't have known it was to prompt.

    reminds me obliquely of once visiting an over-priced "antique" read junk shop near Dillard, Georgia, where the proprietor was hawking Olympic-branded Coke bottles for about twice what they were worth, while listening not to the radio, but the police scanner, as they chased down some dude for nabbing a deer out of season, and he and his mother cackled about Mac n Venison. OK, I have no idea why, but that's what you conjured :) ~

  9. hungry and foraging like pigeons... yes, i can see this.

  10. this trip deserves a ticket . . . love that. I was at a goodwill store today and came home with eleven books! They were all half price. Doesn't get better than that.

  11. And pluck a volume of feminist poems
    From its perch of paint chips and old prayers,
    A fifty-cent treat to my muse.....Love this! Your poem is rich in details and thoughts. You have captured the image perfectly!

  12. '' Out of the corner of my eye
    I notice the pale eyes of a mannequin,
    She watches us from her shadowed corner perch,
    Smiling between her pink 60’s lipstick''

    I love these lines, Stacey. I was always scared of them as a wee girl, just waiting and dreading for one of them to blink. Couldn't get out of the shop quick enough!!

  13. Beautiful writing, I want to read this more than just the once.

  14. Seamless blend of two prompts. Well done.


  15. Adored this...I taught my daughter to be a hungry pigeon too...


Thank you for taking the time to comment, it is so appreciated. Your thoughts and critiques are always welcome! I will be by to visit your blog soon!