“Jane’s Heartbreak Yard Sale” by Lytton Bell

Lytton Bell


Who sells used sex toys at a garage sale?
I knew I had to pull over
as soon as I saw that table full of dildos
just to hear this woman’s story

A whole bed was for sale
and a claw-footed bathtub
a motorcycle, a large stack of books
lingerie and ten photo albums
Photo albums?
Leafing through, I could see that they were all
happy couple love photos:
their trip to Hawaii
backpacking through Europe
mountain climbing in Tibet

And I shouldn’t forget to mention all of the love notes
three huge cardboard boxes full of them. I picked one up:
I stood outside your window for hours last night
while you were sleeping
hoping you would feel me there, and pull open the curtain

I approached her as she sat by the cash box
wearing a pair of over-sized pink sunglasses
So, this is everything he ever gave you? I asked her, trying to be nonchalant
She nodded
I was going to light it all on fire, she told me
But what’s the point?
True, I replied, not sure what else to say
She seemed so peaceful about it. Almost happy

Just then I noticed a pile of CDs:
Jane’s Joy Ride Mix
Jane’s Taking a Bath Mix
Mix for Jane for When She’s Feeling a Little Blue
And one called
In Case of an Emergency, I LOVE YOU
It was sealed with yellow CAUTION tape
and had obviously never been opened

Can I buy this? I asked her
$3.50, she said
I gave her the money and put the CD in my car
and cried and could not open it

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Lytton Bell: “I like poems that throb and sweat, Dickinson, Keats—poems that flood your core with the frenzied thrill of just being alive. That’s the poetry I want to write, that rush of blood, the thumping heart, the urge that leaps into your mouth, leaving you no choice but to make passionate love to whomever is standing just behind you in the grocery line: because we are all sharing this perfect moment together.” (book)

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