At The Auction
by James Keller


Recycled mounds smell of putrefaction
Opposite the car auction.
“We do not sell salvage.”
Over-amplified pop music fills up
the ears with the pulse of anxiety.

A man with a whistle herds everyone
To the auction and swings amps
Toward the tented buyers.
“If you can’t drive a five-speed don’t buy it,
If you can;’t afford a car don’t buy it.”

The mostly poor with poor credit
Embrace the sleepwalker’s life.
“You’ve got to have wheels, man.”
They sit and wait to bid on cheap cars they
Can’t afford--the ages of sin is debt.

“Show us your money, drive it off the lot
Pull out all your dead presidents,
Bring out your Benjamins,
Come on now, we’re rollin’ back the prices.
WIn back your old lady with a bargain.”

Gum-chewing, bored teen-girl runners show off
The secondhand merchandise.
“Look, loaded with leather!
Holy cow, even grandma can drive it,
Hold it-shut it up-fold it-no title.”

Who could resist or leave empty-handed?