Theodore Roethke

The Auction

Once on returning home, purse-proud and hale,
I found my choice possessions on the lawn.
An auctioneer was whipping up a sale.
I did not move to claim what was my own.

“One coat of pride, perhaps a bit threadbare;
Illusions’ trinkets, splendid for the young;
Some items, miscellaneous, marked ‘Fear’;
The chair of honor, with a missing rung.”

The spiel ran on; the sale was brief and brisk;
The bargains fell to bidders, one by one.
Hope flushed my cheekbones with a scarlet disk.
Old neighbors nudged each other at the fun.

My spirits rose each time the hammer fell,
The heart beat faster as the fat words rolled.
I left my home with unencumbered will
And all the rubbish of confusion sold.

spoken = Heather C. Liston