Estate Sale
John A. Nieves

Estate Sale

My hands couldn’t get free of the postcards, but they wanted
the chairs—the fine scrolling, the intricate caning, the centuries
of rest and waiting. I could feel my prints against the dark-wood
patina, the velvet of meals and meditations. I needed to take only

three steps to turn the price tag. I needed only a few seconds
to assess my ability to usher them into my U-Haul, to make
them the places I wondered or dozed. But I was frozen by a fifties
illustration of a castle. Feet away fancy people were touching

the arms, the back. I needed them to slip out of the way. I needed
to put the card back and take my stained t-shirt and jeans through
the portico. I took a breath and a step. My palms could already taste
the older oils. I took a step and a breath. This is what it is to be

alive in the land of the dead: your own breath, your own
steps moving with purpose toward someone else’s place to rest.

John A. Nieves

has poems forthcoming or recently published in such journals as North American Review, Copper Nickel, 32 Poems, Harvard Review, and Massachusetts Review. He won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest, and his first book, Curio, won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge's Prize. He is associate professor of English at Salisbury University and an editor of The Shore Poetry. He received his M.A. from the University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.