Saved by the Bid
there’s no air I’d rather breathe than the grainy haze of
never-settling dust at the Buggy Town Auction on a Friday night
in a Barnesville, Georgia warehouse
my heart beats to the
pulse of people moving through the maze of livestock pens
to bid on barnstock frock
settling in mismatched castoff chairs
savoring the blended scents of
sausages, peppers, onions, and fries
cheeseburgers and pizza
barbecue and boiled peanuts
and the ice-cold pop fizzes of drink tops
wearing broken-in boots and
well-worn jeans
faded and torn
in the corrugated metal walls
under the wooden rafters
on red clay floors that
conjure the very spirts of
Charlotte and Fern and Wilbur
milling through the laundry baskets
of chicken wire-covered
feathered fowl headed to flock elsewhere
barnyard mixes of fertile future egg
hatchlings for surrogate incubators
against the backdrop of the bleating
of goats and sheep
cackling of hens and
crowing of street-preaching roosters
awaiting their turn on the block or
in the livestock limelight of the funnel pen
with an extreme bullriding farmhand who
headlocks horns up for bid
in risky positions that threaten
his very manhood
a sing-songing auctioneer who’ll stop mid-note
during low-ball bids and interject,
“Y’all need to stand up and look at this prize!”
to too many folks who are
letting their ears itch
and hearing my favorite proclamation, finally
“Sold! Number 2078!”
satisfied our newbies destined for the
Johnson Funny Farm will live out their days
peacefully sheltered, safe from slaughterhouse blades

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