not a homeless man, plump, well dressed
in a good tweed jacket. He has a brand new cell
phone. He wheels here every day to sit at this once
quiet place, selling sweet-smelling soaps wrapped
as gifts. People rush by without looking at him,
as if he doesn't exist. Today she tires of feeling guilty,
and hopes the light turns green.
She's on the verge of tears. Her laptop, its case
slung over arm, is heavy. She's late to Apple
to learn if she's lost thousands and thousands of words.
Will she drop her cell phone,
get another parking ticket?
"Hi," she says, ready to hand him a buck,
not taking the soap. She thinks he lives
here in town. Now she worried if he'll dream
of her. She may even dream of him.
At last she exits the shop, her laptop
restored, thinking of thousands of words
that don't mean much. With a wry smile
she crosses the street and finds a small dent in her car,
not knowing whether to cry or to laugh.
Elaine Starkman is an author, a poet, and a teacher in not only the intellect but the spirit as well. Having lived a life that has taken her around the world from Chicago to Israel to Walnut Creek, she sees the world through progressive eyes with a voice that quietly demands to be heard to generations past, present and future.
Lost Words, 2009 can be found in Elaine's book, Hearing Beyond Sound - New and Collected Poems