Gettysburg

By Jennifer Blair

We rushed into the antique shop for solace—

a reprieve from January’s lash, the wind

blasting across the fields, high watermark

copse of trees bare and forlorn, our lips

chattering, eyes stung, barely able to read

the words of Whitman. The man behind

the counter was reading a paper. He wore

a blue flannel shirt and moved slowly

as we stopped to behold a sugar cube

castle under a glass case. Seeing us

paused before some yellow and green

marbled mugs, our faces dubious, he said

an old lady once gave him a tip. Buy

the very ugliest things and when enough

time has passed, you have something rare.

My mother inspects a cigarette box full

of gold buttons and one rusted musket

ball. When she was little her father saw

her pale face and said her eyes looked

like two piss holes in the snow. That

made her feel—rare. Now she never

travels without a tube of mascara.

My brother laughs at salt and pepper

shakers shaped like hay bales.

Nothing much ever bothers him.

My father pauses over an Elvis record.

I have had enough of history.

I am ready to go back to the hotel.

Anxious for my own life to begin.

_____

Jenn Blair is from Yakima, WA. She has published in Kestrel, Copper Nickel, The Tusculum Review, Santa Fe Review, and has work forthcoming in New South, Rattle, and the Tulane Review. Her chapbook “All Things are Ordered” is out from Finishing Line Press. She teaches at the University of Georgia.


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