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The Thrift Shop At the End of the Universe

in the beginning there was a junk shop

not an antique store or a vintage pop-up,

not even a charity thrift. a junk shop,

dingy and disorganized

with a radio playing an almost indecipherable

station full of songs you think

you might remember from your childhood

it doesn't have sections exactly

just shelves, mismatched and loosely sorted,

stacked with figurines and wicker baskets

old appliances from late-night infomercials

stacks of books you probably should have heard of

plastic toys and puzzles you doubt have all the pieces

slightly knotty yarn and seven mismatched knitting needles

markers older than you, silver plate tarnished black

costume jewelry and polyester shirts,

shoes from brands you've never heard of,

stuffed toys that look bored and tired,

scratchy to the touch

but every time you move something

there's something else behind it,

maybe moldering plastic flowers, maybe vintage pyrex,

maybe a broken barometer or a handmade quilt,

deadstock vintage jeans, original art,

first editions, raw materials,

tools you'd never be able to afford new

and so you keep going, further away

from the dusty sunlight of the front windows

maybe down a twisting staircase- or was it up?

you barely notice as you pull out

yards of table cloths and sheets waiting

to be remade, half-finished crochet projects

with the hooks still in, ready to go,

art supplies and beautiful wooden boxes,

souvenirs and photo albums and entire lives,

everything that mattered to people

you drag it out into the aisles,

lay it across an old dining table with two leaves

and a little sticker that says $17

one thing after another that looks like inspiration

before you know it you are building

something new

finding a universe

inside of something old

folding what was loved

into things that can live again

carving rocks into people

breathing spirit into porcelain

watching it walk away from you

all that's left to do

is turn back again to the shelves

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