tarnished brass bracelets jingle on your wrists,
over your shoulder you carry
the same scratched leather satchel
full of papers and books.
worn sandals on naked feet.
i recognize you in an instant.
you keep well in the background.
between shelves M-Z in biographies
you are not at risk.
you have had your share of abuse
and are weary of it,
though not afraid.
the red letters of a franchise bar
reflect in the deep black tar
of a recently paved parking lot.
another new strip mall.
the evening is patiently enduring
the loneliness of a friday night.
people climb out of sport utility vehicles
half the size of their houses, i assume,
and file into the barnes & noble
for a grande non fat latte
and some magazines or bestseller titles
to while away the hours.
and you, in the background,
a mussorgski biography.
how in the world this got there
you can’t imagine,
then Frank Zappa,
but that’s not why you came.
finally, your head clears.
you carefully deposit yourself
in an armchair.
still, no one pays attention.
the anxiety subsides.
the numbers start dancing.