Booth #23 at the Wellfleet Flea Market

There’s the flannel shirted man selling 

ivory next to the hotdog stand. 

Is it real? Too white to be real

this box full of small uncrafted pieces. 

If they’re real, I’ll buy them. 

I ask if it’s old ivory. The kind of ivory 

the Romans used for the whites 

of an eye in their statues. Or the ivory 

the Irish decorated the hilt 

of their swords with. Or the ivory 

Vietnamese used as a seal 

for their documents. The ivory 

billiard balls and piano keys 

were made of. Pre-illegal trade, 

pre-ban. I have ivory rules. 

An animal must be dead, 

or the tusks must be so removed 

from the head, so gone from the jaw 

that it never could look like it had been 

attached to a breathing being. It has to be