second handWhat I heard over the thrum of washing machines and dryers was complaint. She says to no one, he loved anchovies more than her, then rolls her eyes and sets loose a whistle that wheezes into a cough. She’s too thin to be pregnant, carrying her basket of faded underwear, next to her swollen belly, the shape of a goldfish bowl. She wants to leave this one trailer park town and go to Florida. She folds her underwear into tiny triangles. She finds a pair of orange pants left in a dryer. Perfect, she says, something new to wear out.


M.J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook, featuring lyric essays, flash fiction, and prose poems (Foothills Publishing, 2013). Recent poems, flash fictions, and essays are published in When Women Waken, Poppy Road Review, Wild: A Quarterly, Eunoia Review, Andrea Reads America, Canto, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Tiny-lights, The Lake (U.K.), The Kentucky Review, and more. She is the Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm on


Photo credit: Tim Dewey

4 Responses to “Secondhand”

  1. Cody Schweickert says:

    A perfect example of how to tell a story with images. Thanks for everything…

  2. Luke Whisnant says:

    Beautiful and poignant story.

  3. Joy Manné says:

    It took my breath away. So much said in so few words. Admirable.

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