Joe Garnett
Pawn Shop

pale green topaz necklace from the south of France
Made by skillful hands, lies next to the wedding band
Within the case where guns, watches, odd knives
Are placed; each once-cherished object now on view-

A trophy to bad luck, or unforeseen emergency, given up
By each owner reluctantly, at times with tears,
For the bit of cash the pawn shop owner cares to give
From within his face, that protects him from armed outrage.

All the glittering metal objects sparkle from the display lights
Like trinkets at a fair; even ivory and precious stones
And scrimshaw bone are found among the pawn shop’s ware.
Late at night, when the pawn shop is closed, do the ghosts

Return to claim the ring from a marriage ended long ago?
Or the soldier, for a hero’s medal from the war?
Or do the ghosts put on fancy jewels and dance ‘til dawn
Within the place, while the owner sleeps, trouble in his bed-
All this bad luck swirling around his head? Does he dream

About a simpler time before money was used to exchange
A necklace from the south of France worn by a sweet chanteuse;
Or a golden wedding band taken by cruel circumstance
From the hand of the newly married ingénue?





   

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