"-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Frigg | Spring/Summer 2023 | At a Yard Sale with Anna Atkins Somewhere in Indiana | Shannon K. Winston
artwork for Shannon K. Winston's poem At a Yard Sale with Anna Atkins Somewhere in Indiana

At a Yard Sale with Anna Atkins Somewhere in Indiana
Shannon K. Winston
        —for Anna Atkins, who is often considered the first female photographer

Anna inspects a 10¢ boutonniere nestled between a watch and silver spoon.
“Baby’s breath, blue thistle, rosemary … and … and—”

she falters over the last pressed flower. “There’s an app for that. Just snap
a picture and upload it to your phone,” I suggest.

“It’ll identify even the rarest plant for you.” She waves me
away. On the grass, there’s a Nirvana T-shirt and a Tori Amos CD.

“That’s sick!” I exclaim, transported back to my ’90s childhood.
She looks up, applies hand sanitizer. “No, I mean, cool,” I say

as she scuttles away to play with an old film reel.
“I’m perfectly healthy,” I try to explain but she shrugs

and looks quizzically at a half-used bottle of seaweed scrub.
“I fancy more afternoonified gatherings!”

It’s 10:30 a.m., I tell her, and the best yard sales start
even earlier, say at 7 a.m. She furrows her brow.

“Oh dear,” she says. “Afternoonified as in sophisticated, smart.
What exactly are they teaching you in school?”

I hold a pink ruffled prom dress up to my chest.
She winks (or does she?). Then I wrap a black feather boa

around my neck. “That’s butter upon bacon, don’t you think?”
I nod, getting the gist. Butter and bacon would be rich.

“Sorry for being intrusive,” she follows. She bites her lower lip.
“No worries,” I counter. “Oh, but I have so many!” she blurts out.

“Look at this junk! —The My Little Ponies, snap bracelets,
rusted watering cans and toy dump trucks. It’ll all end up

in the landfill or in our oceans.” She looks down, blushing.
“But look at me, I’m becoming quite a church bell.”

Somewhere, a clock chimes eleven times.
Before she leaves, I gift her the boutonniere,

which she fastens to her dress. The flower
she can’t name is closest to her breast.

Shannon K. Winston’s Comments

This poem is part of a larger project on the life and work of Anna Atkins (see epigraph above, following the poem title and byline), which explores time travel, anachronisms, and the everyday.

Table of Contents

Frigg: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 61 | Spring/Summer 2023