Downtown Goodwill Discount Thursday


The mannequin’s enormous breasts

mesmerize the girl on tippy toes

who dangles a sweat-stained

fedora from nipple to nipple.

Racks of sport coats wilt

their plaid surrender. Two octagonal

clocks compete to advertise

the same menthol cigarettes above

a row of VHS tapes leaning

like slanted headstones toward

four shrink-wrapped Old Yellers.

Spine-bent record sleeves below

beam their faded cardboard dream

for us to have a Merry Christmas.

Their trains and snow and pipe-clenched

fathers reek like the morning after

a relapse bender. When her mother

yells it’s time to go the girl

throws her arms around a plastic waist

and whispers in its navel.


Adam Tavel won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Book Award for Catafalque (University of Evansville Press, 2018). He is also the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015), which won the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry. You can find him online at