Yogurt and bread

She was about to enter the grocery store
when a boy approached her:

``Kali mou thia (my dear aunt) I am hungry,
my stomach is hurting,
get me something to eat''

``Come with me into the store,
and you can pick up whatever you want,''
instinctively she replied

The boy picked up some bread
and she offered to buy him
chocolate and cheese

``I only want yogurt to fill me up''
the boy replied

They walked out
and she looked over her shoulder,
wondering what the boy was going to do

He sat under a tree
and wolfed down the yogurt and bread



Highway Exit 33 revisited

I know what to expect
when I walk into McDonald's
at Highway Exit 33

A young woman with sad eyes will be sitting
with her children on the left

A young man with sad eyes will be sitting
with his children on the right

Two well-dressed businessmen
will be politely ordering meals

A pleasant woman from Ecuador
will be making a fresh batch of coffee,
wearing a nice smile
and humming her favorite song

A construction contractor,
must be in his sixties,
will be hurrying to his next job,
hiding two shaking hands
in his sleeves

Three retirees will be enjoying
each other's company,
discussing the weather and current events

A lonesome young man will be battling away
images of a foreign harsh land
with a horrific replay between his eyes

I think of them and pray for them
as I get on the freeway



Typerware cover

A typerware cover was lying
on the ground
at the empty parking spot

It must have fallen out
as the roofer was closing
his work truck's door

He will be looking for it
in the evening after dinner
when he starts
preparing for the day ahead

Exhausted and consumed by
an honest day's work

She will suggest
aluminum foil as an alternative

They will discuss the kids
and she will kiss him goodnight

The television will be flashing
relentless pundit opinions
and obliterating reality shows



The dilogarithm

I am stymied
by the elusive integral
of the spanning trees

I am thinking with affection and shame:

Grigori would have looked at me with disdain
and shoved their million bucks
down the drain



Investment property

He mows their little patch of grass
every Tuesday

Surrounded by a dentist's office,
a mechanic shop, and a Big Box store

A young woman holding a baby
watches him with pride
from the porch

This is not an investment property,
this is their home



Souls of my shoes

The sole detached from one of my shoes,
and I glued it back

The other sole also detached,
and I will glue it back

Why waste a perfectly good pair of shoes
just because two soles detached?



Refund

I asked if I could be refunded
the difference
for some lumber I bought
that is now on sale

The young woman looked up and said:
of course,
every little bit of money helps,
you know,
you can fill your gas tank

It is awfully kind of you, I muttered;
she smiled with dignity and pride

Fifteen dollars and forty-six cents



Rosa Milagro

Rosa Milagro wakes up
at four o'clock every morning
to work at the University Lodge

At times of sorrow or distress
she sings a beautiful lullaby

The song reverberates
like a ray of hope
across the narrow hallways

But is not heard by the
self-absorbed academics



Land of abandoned dreams

They drifted in rough waters
and ended up ashore
at the land of abandoned dreams

They walked through the woods
and recognized their own dreams
in the shape of a weeping tree
with injured branches,
surrounded by thick brush and thorny weeds

Other trees were severely damaged
and some had not survived the long droughts
and punishing winds

There were plenty of Joshua trees,
reaching for the sky

Unsmiling and muted,
they made their way to the nearest village



Spring

Shoveling snow
to clear his share of the sidewalk
in front of the row house

Bundled up in layers
of sweaters and shirts
and an old military jacket

With a scruffy face,
eyes on the shovel,
and deliberate moves

The mailman drove by:
spring will be here soon

He looked up
and his face lit up:
yeah, spring will be here soon



Regrets

He noticed a beautiful tattoo
around her wrist
as she handed him
a large coffee

It means ``regrets'' she explained;
then she looked away and whispered
``I have a lot of regrets''

He had to move on
but their eyes met
as he was leaving

She smiled with a trace of sadness,
he nodded back

Jackson Browne was singing
``In the Shape of a Heart''
in the background

``I guess I never knew
what she was talking about
I guess I never knew
what she was living without''

One day at a time

Tough Harley guy,
I look at him in the eyes:
How have you been,
it's been a while

He looks away
and I could see how he was
as a child

He whispers:
One day at a time

Some words of encouragement,
they will last for a little while