Discard Pile Thief

“We quote each other only when we’re wrong.”
—Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo), from “High Water” (Anodyne)

A half dozen
roses tossed
onto a snow bank. A garment
bag with wheels
going in circles
on a carousel

of time. Three
sisters, one
mother, a wife, two
children under
four. One father—
recently dead. A box of notes

for a novel
scrapped without
a plot. A birthday
gift for a modern
novelist—long dead. A bowl
of yellow split

pea soup without
a spoon. Six
roses in the wrong

kind of water.
The dialogue
that preceded them.

All the quotation
marks she saved
just in case.

It’s a Joke

So a woman walks into a bar
with an empty stage
near the back door. She sees a saint
who looks like Willie Nelson

knocking back a shot, decides to ask him
to grant her a wish. “Please, please, please
oh messenger of God, please
let me win the lottery.” No

response. He orders another. She leaves.
Comes back the next night. Same saint, same
question—same silence.
The next night—all the same. Finally,

on the evening of a full moon, she enters
the bar to find the saint sitting on a stool
on the stage with a beat-up, old Gibson
Advanced Jumbo. She begins again, “Please,

please, oh messenger. . .” He interrupts her—“You know,
when I think of saints, I think of
Jay Farrar. Oh, and baby, would you be willing
to buy a ticket this time?”