Dealers’ fingers crawl over pensioners’ china,
scanning for cracks in Toby jugs, Bier-steins.
They rummage in costume brooches for the flicker
of true gold, or the ghastly glint of iron crosses, golly pins.
A rave without the music: Transit vans
and morning mania. The hype-man on the PA,
instead of shouting rewind, sweats and swaggers
in the show of selling vacuum packs of meat.
Big Man in the green wellies opens the punter gate
and they shuffle in to meditate on the first thing
and then the next, each object in use again
in the kitchens and hallways of the imagination.
Percy explains how Herb Alpert was second
only to the Beatles in America, once.
Marion’s fingers glide across a row of CDs,
as if jewels might be found in jewel cases.
Outside, on unofficial curbside stalls
with boxes of wires from cold war technology,
a head-scarved lady fresh from a Soviet newsreel
sells beets and potatoes and rust-fractured tools.
Here’s a field in England, cash-mad and sodden
where the laden traipse with the ballast of greed
to rifle through the past for anything good to keep.