The Garage Sale is a Mother

commissioned and conditioned 

to encourage her young to explore 

new homes as she worries and wonders.

each (t)ask rife with

unanticipated thunder.

skies clear, the light is on

ten dollars sent to the local 

paper a solid investment, as cars 

and bargain hunters gather.

the garage sale is a mother,

— her insides crumble

What’s the condition of

The Betty Crocker Oven

a neighbor wants to know.

Three for ten dollars,

a gentleman in a pick-up truck 

asks as his hungry eyes consume

a Cabbage Patch doll, Tonka Truck

and Legos Star Wars set. 

— neatly boxed

If I take five trays 

of charcoal pencils and the 

case of oil pastels off your hands, 

a woman in a white sedan inquires, 

Would you sell them for less?

the garage sale is a mother,

dressed in practical pants, 

with a practical proposition,
on the advice of the real estate agent.

— well intentioned

hands dealt,

Topps All Star, Hallmark

Pokémon cards neatly stacked.

no full house. deuces on tap. 

Does it work?

Are parts missing?

Is this a full deck?

Do you have another?

questions pile up,

like those of the toddler

for whom the items

now on folding tables,

marked down,

were once the heart of the home.

the garage sale is a mother,

who wants to answer NO,

but knows better.


I used the random card generator linked in the instructions and asked for three cards. I received a 4 of Hearts, a 2 of Hearts, and an Ace of Diamonds. Using the card meanings shared in the pop-up instructions, I started to think about the relationship between the following concepts: home, communication, beginnings (drawing on the concepts associated with Ace, Two, and Four cards) as well as family, money, practicality, and material things (drawing on the concepts associated with Hearts and Diamonds).

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Recent works include 14 (Plus) Reasons WhyA Collection of Recollections, Invisible Ink, On Always Being an Outsider, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.