The Turn Over shop sits in a house
stocked with exhalations of couples;
the toast, the throw, the lamp, the mug,
from other homes in Baltimore; it was started,
lore has it, by divorce.
Run by women, a mother and her daughter, and others,
the only men seem to be movers, who sing breezily
as they heft from room to room, "comin' through,
big bed, comin' through." I barely hear them
as I weigh an ice tray which promises glacial
golf balls, to jostle, sportive, in your drink.
The women know -- how do they? -- that I am engaged.
Did I tell them, or is my homely panic that familiar?
They beam when I am provident (a colander)
but chasten with their brows, "too dear for you, dear,"
when I hanker after luxe (champagne flutes).
Then I march to stores which purvey the new:
mazes of couches, parked in windowless showrooms.
As I test-bounce, my bottom summons up two fairy tales
designed to make me a wiser consumer of furniture:
peas prod me everywhere, and shouldn't a sofa feel "just right"?
At the Turn Over shop, you can hold things with a tentative
post-it; ponder the low bowl for a day to decide how keenly
its melon-green glaze, the freesias piping along the rim,
and its name, "Roseville," is incised.
Old, foundling, second-hand is more dear than any anonymous new.
Treasurer of chance, I shop by coincidence.
Let the new be solemn as the ring slipped on, the dress worn once.
Let all else, especially love, be well-known, if not worn, before.