Friday, January 21, 2011


I talked to one guy today
who got tired of construction
and “making the wrong
people rich,” which was as
far as he got before another,
who used to work with an
autistic kid, asked for help –
we were cooking breakfast
together for folks at the shelter
who stood single file for
sausage, oatmeal, and eggs.

As they took their trays,
I wondered what stories
were passing by untold:
the dishwasher in shirt and tie;
the baby in the stroller;
the old man who could not
speak and only growled –
with a smile on his face;
the four men in the back
who ate and never spoke;
the woman serving coffee.

I stood in the middle of
the used book store of life,
where worn copies of great
works seem to be stacked
to go unnoticed that they
might remain unread
and remainders remain
because we’re serving lunch.
“The rice was a little undercooked,”
said one, kindly, “but I loved
the concept of the meal.”

Me, too. I love a table
big enough for food critics
and failures, architects and
addicts, teachers and
turncoats, homeless,
hopeful, left out, left over,
betrayers and betrayed,
where – for a few moments –
every book on the shelf
was dusted off long enough
to be recognized.



Maureen in Minnesota said...

I love this. Love "used book store of life." Perfect.

magil said...

Yes- I liked the line about the great works remaining unnoticed...
and then later comparing the lives of those there to that of 'used books' being dusted off and brought out for a while :)
Thank you!

David R said...

Occasionally, a bibliophile such as yourself browses enough to quote one or two...