At my yard sale, I promoted

a pencil sharpener for 50 cents.

 

Everything in my lawn sold

out. Old records, glow in the dark bouncy

balls, cigar boxes of rubber stamps, lamps

 

shaped like missiles. I even sold a tin can

full of dead earwigs, told a kid they were haunted.

 

He paid me a quarter, said, This’ll be perfect

to put inside the pillow of my older brother.

 

Everything sold but the pencil

sharpener. As day turned

to night, as I counted twice my fat pockets

 

stuffed with cash, I asked the one

remaining person (always

a straggler), asked her, Why do you think

 

no one snagged the pencil sharpener?

She looked at me confused

and said, What the fuck is a pencil?

 

Oh, that thing? We all thought

it was a tiny meat grinder, too tiny

for any of our butcher shops.

 

Far too tiny.

Benjamin Niespodziany is a night librarian at the University of Chicago. He runs the multimedia art blog [neonpajamas] and has had work published in Ghost City Press, HOOT Review, formercactus, Occulum, and others.

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