Thrift

I followed my nose - a car boot
sale had started. Along the field
the deckchair professionals were
thumbing the customers’ fivers,

rootling for absent change. Their cheeks
were piggybank-pink; their flat hands
palmed portions of china, or flogged
dead horses in gilt frames and dolls

which had never seen better days.
Winking, they watched as the punters
convulsed with glee, sifting their junk
(a present from a Chinese aunt

who had perished on the Long March,
after sending some souvenirs).
Some raffia tat. Table mats
with snaps of Hieronymus Bosch.

An old Coronation mug-shot.
Some tail-free squirrels, legless bears,
blind mice, and complete jigsaws (sealed).
Dummies, and their previous owners

cavorting in the grass, free range,
with footballs. It was paradise
rebranded. I handed the guards
some coins, and trestled a table,

and spread myself gently across
its splintered surface. Help yourself,
I told the curious, as they
wafted past my pitch. Grab both arms

for the price of one. Take ten toes,
wriggling, free with a pair of feet.
No tonsils, but oesophagus
and well-lined lungs available,

no guarantees, but that’s the way
with boot sales. What you see is what
you pocket. By tea-time, I’d flogged
hands, knees, and boomps-a-daisy, for

a song. My head: snapped up by a
passing crocodile of kids. I
made a killing. But they left my
clothes rolled up - they wouldn’t touch them.

From the book Looks Familiar

for Gini