In Lirong, Tibet, Buddhist monks keep an ancient burial
rite: they chop up
the newly dead and leave for vultures on a sacred mountain.
—New York Times, 07/03/99
Oriental rugs, armoires, old prints,
And more! we read in Sunday’s tiny ad.
We hoped to find some decent furniture
For not too much, just other people’s junk.
A clot of traffic filled the one-lane street
As people tried to park close to the house.
We walked up past the tent with three cashiers,
Pushed through the creaking screen and found within
A tidy place. An oak veneer gleamed under
Lacy cloth, a short fur coat hung from
The shower rack, an ancient breadbox bore
No rust or dents. A woman laughed as she
Tried on a netted feathered hat and saw
Her borrowed glamour in a tarnished glass.
My husband, in the basement, found some shears,
A stainless steel commode, some telephones
With buttons like half-dollars. It must have been
A widow, old and ill, who died, whose things
Remained, laid out, all groomed and scrubbed and cleaned
To ease the feasting by the circling birds.