End of Market Day
by Judith Harris
At five, the market is closing.
Burdock roots, parsley, and rutabagas
are poured back into the trucks.
The antique dealer breaks down his tables.
Light dappled, in winter parkas
shoppers hunt for bargains:
a teapot, or costume jewelry,
a grab bag of rubbishy vegetables for stew.
Now twilight, the farmer’s wife
bundled in her tweed coat and pocket apron
counts out her cash from a metal box,
and nods to her grown-up son
back from a tour in Iraq,
as he waits in the station wagon
with the country music turned way up,
his prosthetic leg gunning the engine.
About the Author:
Judith Harris is author of two books of poetry, Atonement and The Bad Secret, and a critical book, Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing, a study of psychoanalytic processes underlying literary perception. Her poetry has appeared recently in The New Republic, Slate, Ploughshares, and the Atlantic.
American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2009 by Judith Harris. Poem reprinted from The Southern Review, Vol. 46, no. 1, 2009, by permission of Judith Harris and the publisher.