Yankee Swop

Will trade one story of crocodiles climbing trees
for a banister draped in a fishing net, and a ball of mending twine
Will trade the slice of tires on wet roads
for milkweed pods left to open in the wind or evidence thereof
Will trade my hush and suffering of fools
for a clamshell of paper plate, a puddle of butter
Will trade a walk for a clothesline, a rabbit for a different
rabbit, will trade a flashlight for hyacinth bulbs
Will trade my hand spun comfortable lie or fairy tale
for the renewed ability to believe it
Will trade lint for mussel shells, whole, hinged, or
hollow—condition negotiable, opalescent interior preferred
Will trade three meetings and a door held politely open
for a box of mislaid letters and their envelopes
Will trade my grandmother’s pearl earrings, secreted
in a shipment of baubles, for a bowl of soup split two ways
Will trade an attic of National Geographics and permission
to use the maps as wrapping paper for three uninjured cardinals
Will trade mist rising from a lake or a cup of coffee
for a water snake moving on or what have you


Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Antiphon, The Bellingham Review, The Louisville Review, and Sou’wester. She is the author of two chapbooks, Dear Turquoise (dancing girl press) and Creature Feature (ELJ Publications). She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.