Valerie Fox

Blue Horses

I’m petting eight tiny horses, vinegar-scented, at the pop-up estate sale. Some turn noses down, some up. Some twist their blue necks.

A guarded woman, in tears and puffy jacket, covets and cradles antique doll-babies. Pretend babies animate all rooms. This woman had been close with the dedicated Papal dish and plate collecting person who once lived here where the estate sale is occurring. I count 156 wine glasses and photograph an accordion in its original box.

I sneak into “Keep Out” rooms like the yarn-ridden bathroom—mid-century scraps, not the kind I’m into.

There’s a leather expandable classic attaché, well cared for, between a bedframe slats. You would have liked it. That’s another self-deception I keep falling for, like saying everyone I meet is mildly depressed (and not me).

I buy a thousand sewing needles. I should take up sewing, so I will never have to run out of things to do. And, well, I did hope to see someone here that I knew, maybe you—but you’re not here.

A dealer hunting for picture frames and stereo speakers points to major ceiling decay, says—My brother and I went through this one house, the people had a giant hole in the kitchen floor, smoke stains, cat-piss. But the porn room was tidy and alphabetized.

I’ll take these blue horses. We belong with each other.

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Recent fiction by Valerie Fox was included in Best Microfiction 2019 , as well as in The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Painting s (edited by Karen Schauber).  Her writing has appeared in Juked, Cleaver, Ellipsis Zine, Reflex, Okay Donkey, The Cafe Irreal, Across the Margin and other journals . With artist Jacklynn Niemiec, Fox recently created The Real Sky (an art/word collaborative book), in a handmade, limited edition of 26.