Blue Horses by Valerie Fox

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.

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 Paintings (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.

Vintage photo of a woman playing an accordion on the beach
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