At a yard sale today,
still carrying the leftover half of my plantain from dinner,
my friends and I ambled up and down two sides of a fence.
The outside was like many white flagpoles hung with clothes.
Hardly waving at all.
Inside we find wires in baskets,
John Grisham novels,
and scores of video cassettes;
a medium we handled with modern alacrity as children
and now can barely remember that there is an arrow
that points “this way in.”
We also see pictures of bridges
and teapots, one shaped like the Kremlin
(I almost bought this)
and one like Mary had no lambs.
What I do buy is camouflaged against the table at first,
flat and inconspicuous and sheathed.
I buy a samurai sword, tasseled, still sharp
enough to cut watermelons, my friends propose.
It costs seven dollars.
I present the weapon and the seven
to the women sitting in their fence-matching pavilion
looking to get rid of their husband's arms.
Walking home, Bryan remarks that
I look quite natural, even in my sunhat,
with the sword swung over my shoulder.
I am holding the strap, it is dangling down my back.
What an excellent compliment!
This means, I take it,
that I am a survivor.
We walk on in search of melons.