Yard Sale

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He-Man w/ drawn-on mustache, missing an arm–$.50

The arm, you tell me, was lost in the battle of Rosie, circa ’99. You were prying a plastic bicep from the spaniel’s mouth while she dug claws into carpet you once “mowed” with scissors. Wires of spit dripped and Rosie severed his wrist, wishboning you back and under your bed. You were stuck and had to call for help, spine shaped like a C, and Rosie sprinted down the stairs, masticating He-Man’s fist. You can’t remember if you decided He-Man was a natural blonde with dyed-black mustache or the other way around. You hide the figure when a kid comes by. I put it back out when you aren’t looking. When you say Rosie, I see her as a wiggling old lady, pre-glaucoma, teaming up with the cats to tear open a bag of bagels.

Crocodile Dentist, down a couple teeth–$3.25

The game came from your speech therapy class, Ms. Susserman, and the way your Ss collided with your Js made her name especially sadistic. It wasn’t a class so much as a “seems legit” place in the mall, next to the Sears (or Jearj). Each tooth pulled was supposed to celebrate another S-sentence victory. The look on the crocodile’s face made the whole thing seem cruel, though. You dreamt of splintering teeth tumbling into sinks, onto tile. Collecting in piles so big you had to crunch through them to escape, molars and canines spilling out your bedroom window. A dust mote landed on Susserman’s tongue one time, tongue out to show proper pronunciation but looking more Communion-like, the wafer disintegrating on contact. And the way Jesus became Jejuj. I mark this down to a buck-fifty just to see it sell.

Chunky first-gen iPod (with Starry Night case)–$10

The iPod, sans-case, used to be filled with pre-us songs you collected from your gentleman callers. Your term, not mine. Lying on your bed as teenagers, watching the door for parentals. Afternoon light sleeping on the pillow next to us. I’d hum along to the pre-us songs, but it was hollow. The songs became endangered, and then extinct altogether. Buying the case for you at the mall and looking at it by starlight. Paused on one of my songs, in the middle of a field, brown leaves awkwardly-shaped mountains for the ants to crawl over. You touching each impressionistic swirl with your pinky, telling me these were astronomical phenomena that not even scientists in Van Gogh’s time knew about. Me saying there’s more truth in color on canvas than numbers on a page. You calling me a dork but kissing me anyway. I let it go for the full $10.

Pride hoodie (with rainbow pin)–$6

We went to Pride that year because we’d always wanted to. Because it seemed like the right time. An angel in a speedo came over, offered me his wand. He was a magic angel. And me not knowing what to do with my hands. You urgent-whispering for me to take it, like I’d been offered a rare delicacy and would anger the tribe should I refuse. I rubbed the glitter into my eyes and you wouldn’t give me your mirror till I let you take a picture. It’s still there, on your phone, in social media limbo. You bought the hoodie from a woman whose top was suspenders. She gave you your change, leaned in and kissed the corner where cheek meets lip. Your blush spread from cheeks to eartips and settled on the back of your neck, like a virus running its course. Your hand clammed and dried in mine, over and over, all the way to the el. The hoodie sells quick, for full price.

Gold pen (plated)–$15

Your mom gifted me the pen a year back, after you let slip that I write stories. She asked if I wrote romance or thrillers. And me saying I try to get at the absurdity of the human condition through the mundane and the everyday. Her smiling the way you would before putting a kid’s drawing up on the fridge. The pen leaked on all my pants. Nib went dry right when I needed it. And me scratching a hole in the page, tasting ink when I ran out of fingers and had to use my tongue instead. I bought a cheap replacement at Blick. Brought goldilocks over for family occasions and ham-fisted it when it came time to “show it off.” A turtleneck haggles us down to $10 because of the ink. We sign the new lease with it, our names together. Mine squiggly, yours neat. Hand the pen over to the turtleneck when we’re done.

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