THE OBSERVER November 20, 2014
Jasmine By MARGARET FISHER
Sweet little ponytail Bounces past the smear and graffiti. This is my fairytale kingdom. Twists and X’s on brick swirl to birthday cakes in the backyard, A concrete castle with a chain link swing. Plastic cups and Grass beneath the stairs. One, two, three, The door. Laced magic sparkle sneakers And if I believe, I can fly. Puddles are shiny with rainbow oil slick, And gray is the best color Because I can paint it again. The little white flowers grow under our fence And take me far away. There’s a princess, too, With long black hair and golden shoes. A purple rug and marble balcony. Sand and sky and bright eyes. Daddy is my knight. He has armor in the pores of his skin: Barbed wire and momma as a name. There are numbers for the day I came along. The day he got his princess. He told me and it’s true. But he looks sad and Leans back to close his eyes. I look out the window. The birds come to see me and The sky is blue behind the clouds. Jasmine is in her castle; and with no one around, She sings and sleeps and Moves on fast.
SARAH HOWARD/THE OBSERVER
One Man’s Ash By ERIKA ORTIZ
It was a clear and warm Saturday morning when Amy sat down with a map, a red pen, and that day’s newspaper. She opened to the appropriate section and began to search the personal ads, checking the details of the items offered and then referencing her map to mark out her plan of action. Once Amy finished and was ready to go, she wrote up her list on a “Things To-Do” pad and headed out. When Amy reached the first destination, she pulled over to the curb and shut off the engine. She quickly grabbed her purse and climbed out of the car, eagerly crossing the street. She ascended the driveway that led to a yard swarmed with people. She smiled brightly and jumped into the fray, happily searching and critiquing with her fellow bargain hunters. Like most people that spend Saturday after Saturday at garage sales (and you must trust that these people do indeed exist), Amy wasn’t in search of anything specific. That was the beauty of a bargain; even if you didn’t need something, the deal was too good to pass up. For most of the morning Amy continued on her merry way, weaving between crowds and digging through bins, arguing her case for a price reduction and walking away with a sly smile and her hands full of purchases. As the day was winding down (and her car was getting full), Amy decided that the next stop would be her last.
She pulled up in front of a house that had a sign in the window that read “Estate Sale.” As usual, Amy poked through the various bins and boxes, doing her best to ignore the larger items that wouldn’t fit in her car no matter how much she wanted them. But even so, she managed to find a few things that she enjoyed, her favorite being a decorative brass jar with a lid. She thought it would be perfect to use as a vase in her living room. When Amy finally returned home that afternoon, she embarked on the task of unloading all of her treasures and putting them to their intended uses. She hung pictures on the walls, arranged lawn ornaments in her garden, and packed away out-ofseason holiday decorations. As she finished putting everything in its place, Amy took the last item she purchased and brought it to the living room. Just as she had suspected, the jar matched the decor wonderfully. She happily moved the decoration to its new place and made work of transferring the fake bouquet of roses from the old jar to the new. In her haste, however, she managed to knock her bargain on its side— and a waterfall of ashes cascaded out. She cocked her head to the side, staring at the mess in confusion, before simply shrugging her shoulders. Amy then swept the ash back into the jar, rearranged the flowers, and walked to the kitchen to make herself a late lunch.
KIRSTIN BUNKLEY/THE OBSERVER