The Antiques Buyer
Meets His Match

“What’s the best you’ll do?” I asked;
__“It’s nice, but needs some work…
and parts for these, as you may know,
__are sometimes hard to find!”
“If you don’t like it—leave it, sir,”
__the gray-haired lady quipped;
“finding what it needs to function
__never crossed my mind!
I let buyers wrestle with
__the costs of restoration;
leaving things the way I find
__them keeps my prices down.
That’s the bottom dollar,” she
__asserted with a smirk,
then nailed me with an angry glare
__in deference to my frown.

“Seven bucks is crazy,” I
__unloaded on the gal,
“when it could take another 5
__or 6 to make it work!”

“Not if when it’s all restored
__it’s worth a couple thousand—
which it is,” she fired back,
__“now, suit yourself, ya’ jerk!”

The truth is—what it needed was
__a piece of cake to find,
and yes—when fixed—potential profit
__stood at—“through the roof,”
So, as my wife had prophesied:
__“You’ll one day meet your match.”
In this particular circumstance
__she’d finally found her proof!



Mark Stellinga is a poet and antiques dealer residing in Iowa. 

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18 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    Great interaction between the characters, Mark, and a fine choice of picture.

    Thanks for the read.

    • Mark Stellinga

      Hi Sally, it was MANY years ago, but I probably did go back, my wife and I have been restoring antique pieces for more than 40 years and loving every minute. BTW – I left out some of the ornerier back-and-forth!

  2. Cynthia Erlandson

    I really like the way you made the conversation sound natural while keeping the meter.

  3. Roy Eugene Peterson

    I also learned never to argue with a gray-haired lady! You presented this situation perfectly.

    • Mark Stellinga

      Thanks, Roy, it’s one of *many* similar ‘dickerings’, and thought not all were gray-haired gals (some were bald guys), they were definitely among the toughest to reason with.

    • Mark Stellinga

      Thanks for ‘like’, Russel, I mildly resented and couldn’t help but love this old gal at the same time. She’s what I’ve become…

  4. Norma Pain

    This is a fun poem with great musical meter that I really enjoyed reading a few times. Thank you Mark.

    • Mark Stellinga

      Hi Norma, I’m glad you enjoyed it. The actual exchange this gal and I had was a wee bit more grown-upper, and in our many years in the antiques business it was a fairly common back-n-forth! It’s part of the collecting game, as I’m sure you know. Many more ‘meaningful’ pieces in the queue, this one’s just for smiles –

  5. C.B. Anderson

    Nice one, Mark. As Cynthia already mentioned, incorporating dialog into an established form is a bit of a feat. It’s good to know that corn isn’t the only thing that’s grown in Iowa.

    • Mark Stellinga

      Thanks, Paul, this sort are always fun to whip up, far more meaningful pieces in the queue – this site was a wonderful find for me. 🙂

  6. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Mark, welcome to the SCP with a wholly engaging and intriguing debut poem. I too admire your ability to incorporate dialogue seemingly effortlessly. Your ability to paint a slice of life with words is admirable. Great stuff!

    • Mark Stellinga

      Hi Susan, I thought I’d introduce myself with a mix of smile-evokers and thought-provokers, and Evan elected to begin with this little #. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’m hoping one of the next few to appear is – “Sophisticated Lady – Small Town Girl” (it’s in the book), one of my many heart warming narratives. Thanks for the note – anxious to see your next contribution. 🙂


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