Velvet Elvis: Bad Art
Antique Emporium
Captiva Island, Florida

The battered shack is a colorless lithograph
wearing a heavy layer of musk, mildew and dust.
My grinning brothers halt
before a plastic, seven-feet tall, neon Jolly Green Giant
and ho-ho-ho with him.

Shelves hold empty Nabisco cracker tins,
Hershey’s cocoa cans, a musty stack of 1941 calendars.
Sea shells cover photo frames and vases,
even a crucifix with a rusted tin corpus
clinging like a barnacle to the cross-bar.

I wind through the maze, searching a way out
and see a bushel basket near the exit, filled
with curled portraits printed on Kodak paper
and stare into the stern face of a fat woman wearing an apron,
high-top shoes and holding a huge spoon
in her right hand. A mustachioed man in a bowler hat
is beside her in a five-button suit, leaning on a cane.
Neither smiles.

Another photo finds a bustled bride carrying a huge bouquet
of calla lilies, her dour-faced groom rigid beside her.
I wonder if this was a happy marriage.

Near the door, a hand-lettered sign reads
     $2.00 each, no limit
and the clerk chirps, “Please come again.
We have more if these don’t please you.”

Outdoors, sunshine clears my mind and I realize
it may be possible after all to choose
my ancestors.

Copyright 2013,  Gail Eisenhart

Gail Eisenhart’s poems will be seen soon in California Quarterly, The Centrifugal Eye, The Quotable and Qarrtsiluni. Her chapbook, Dip in the Road, was runner up in the 2012 Mary Ballard Chapbook contest. A retired Executive Assistant, Gail works part time at the Belleville (IL) Public Library and travels in her spare time.

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