The racks are so full That you could pull a muscle Trying to push the screeching hangers aside. Parallel universes pressed together Midlife crisis leather jackets Windbreakers, a rainbow of shiny synthetics Made from dinosaur corpses in the 80s.
The back room is bloated with plastic bags And each day people leave more behind A gloved worker lifts the weight from their trunks, Whispers a benediction as they leave.
Of course, some things are garbage. Some things go far away Some are shredded into cleaning rags But by some miracle, a few mistakes get re-priced and Recycled into absolution. The vice principal’s old fuchsia skirt suit Gets hemmed a few inches higher For a drag queen’s Elle Woods costume.
I come here while my family goes to Sunday school Wait in the humid parking lot for the doors to open Next to a woman who will gather a bundle of jewelry For the dragon’s lair in the back of her Cadillac.
I go into a dressing room I try on a handful of possible futures Sometimes I come across a thing that once was mine-- I smile and move on.
I learned it at summer camp From a Baptist with a dark goatee (His name was Steve, I think) He said Grace isn’t fair, and I agree It’s chaotic, it’s queer, it’s confusing It arrives uninvited and then You're in love, eating ramen with angels, singing up mountains A pair of ancient jeans appears in your perfect size and Some stains don’t wash out Some tears take a revolution to mend but Maybe if enough people go to thrift stores and plant gardens And enough people teach you you’re normal, even good-- Maybe the world will end a little later than it should.
Susannah Stubbs is a writer, musician and future English teacher currently working toward an M.Ed. at UALR in Little Rock, Arkansas. Susannah recently completed a YAV year with the Presbyterian Church (USA) in South Korea and is part of the Presbyterian Peace Network for Korea. She does graphic design work with the Cobb Institute and Open Horizons as well as co-editing Becomings. In her free time, you may find Susannah playing her cello or guitar, lurking around local thrift stores, attending concerts (pre-pandemic!) or visiting her family and her sweet German Shepherd in her hometown of Searcy.