Ghost Auction by Elisabeth McKetta

The auctioneer holds in his hands

all the years we yearn for.

Not that far from high school

we already see the hardness

of our wishes, how we would’ve shed

our allowances to go to an auction

where adult years were sold cheap.

Where for a single night we could

be eighteen or have sex or even just

drive or act like somebody’s

mother. Or shed the bridles

of our costly educations and

get a dead-end job or a good one,

anything but this. The highest bids

go for childhood and wisecrack old

age: times when the body

is shooting toward the future

too fast for thought. He says

the corners of life are when

people forget to ask to do it

more than once, the times

bidders know for rock-certain

that they’ll all get to do all of it.

The auctioneer raises the price

even of fragments he knows

nobody wants, nobody will remember.

Elisabeth McKetta
unnamed_optElisabeth Sharp McKetta teaches writing for Harvard Extension School and is the author of three books. A fourth book, Energy: The Life of John J. McKetta, is forthcoming from University of Texas Press. Her work links fairy tales and autobiography.