2011-08-04T23:15:22-07:00August 4th, 2011|Musings on life|

The corner store

His face is rendered expressionless
with patches of eczema around his mouth and eyes
so fierce that he can’t move them or risk
the cracking.

Over the years I have wondered if an affable man
or at least an intriguing one
lurks inside this chapped mask
and I have vaulted my cleverest banter his way
but he deflects my every effort
with a look that oscillates between
I am bored
I quite dislike you.

Still, I come back to him
a few times a week
he is just up the street and sells the basics
almond milk
cans of beans
avocados that are always ripe.

One morning I was driving
early for a meeting
the air misty
the sun still a smudge on the horizon
I saw him
wire coat hanger shape of a man
carefully arranging the bins of fruit and vegetables
on the sidewalk outside his store.

I sat at the red light and watched
him as he caressed an acorn squash
for a long minute
and stood back to admire his
perfect pyramid
of oranges.

I understood him completely
in that moment
his devotion to these forgiving
beauty without

How sad I felt then
for all the times
I had aggressively squeezed a papaya
to see if she was ripe
and taken apples from the bottom of the pile
leaving the remainders
in abandoned disarray.

I had felt noble and kind
for giving this brittle man
my business
but each time
without knowing it
I had stolen a little
of his peace.

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