Anna Reisman The 2River View, 6.4 (Summer 2002)
Estate Sale

In Lirong, Tibet, Buddhist monks keep an ancient burial rite: they chop up
the newly dead and leave for vultures on a sacred mountain.

—New York Times, 07/03/99

Oriental rugs, armoires, old prints,
And more!
we read in Sunday’s tiny ad.
We hoped to find some decent furniture
For not too much, just other people’s junk.

A clot of traffic filled the one-lane street
As people tried to park close to the house.
We walked up past the tent with three cashiers,
Pushed through the creaking screen and found within

A tidy place. An oak veneer gleamed under
Lacy cloth, a short fur coat hung from
The shower rack, an ancient breadbox bore
No rust or dents. A woman laughed as she

Tried on a netted feathered hat and saw
Her borrowed glamour in a tarnished glass.
My husband, in the basement, found some shears,
A stainless steel commode, some telephones

With buttons like half-dollars. It must have been
A widow, old and ill, who died, whose things
Remained, laid out, all groomed and scrubbed and cleaned
To ease the feasting by the circling birds.

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