Anna inspects a 10¢ boutonniere nestled between a watch and silver spoon.
“Baby’s breath, blue thistle, rosemary … and … and—”
she falters over the last pressed flower. “There’s an app for that. Just snap
a picture and upload it to your phone,” I suggest.
“It’ll identify even the rarest plant for you.” She waves me
away. On the grass, there’s a Nirvana T-shirt and a Tori Amos CD.
“That’s sick!” I exclaim, transported back to my ’90s childhood.
She looks up, applies hand sanitizer. “No, I mean, cool,” I say
as she scuttles away to play with an old film reel.
“I’m perfectly healthy,” I try to explain but she shrugs
and looks quizzically at a half-used bottle of seaweed scrub.
“I fancy more afternoonified gatherings!”
It’s 10:30 a.m., I tell her, and the best yard sales start
even earlier, say at 7 a.m. She furrows her brow.
“Oh dear,” she says. “Afternoonified as in sophisticated, smart.
What exactly are they teaching you in school?”
I hold a pink ruffled prom dress up to my chest.
She winks (or does she?). Then I wrap a black feather boa
around my neck. “That’s butter upon bacon, don’t you think?”
I nod, getting the gist. Butter and bacon would be rich.
“Sorry for being intrusive,” she follows. She bites her lower lip.
“No worries,” I counter. “Oh, but I have so many!” she blurts out.
“Look at this junk! —The My Little Ponies, snap bracelets,
rusted watering cans and toy dump trucks. It’ll all end up
in the landfill or in our oceans.” She looks down, blushing.
“But look at me, I’m becoming quite a church bell.”
Somewhere, a clock chimes eleven times.
Before she leaves, I gift her the boutonniere,
which she fastens to her dress. The flower
she can’t name is closest to her breast.