In the smoke shop, the aroma

of incense lays trapped between

wood and glass.  Rigid cardboard

boxes rich with painted scenes of Italy

protect the peaceful rebellion of

indulging in the product until offered

a choice through decadent permission.


A swinging door opens to the street;

it’s a clear space until pedestrians

fill in.


A nearby alley is the breeding ground

for hanging laundry.  Fleshy pink hands

clothespin the wet linens. I half

remember the times I pretended to help

my parents, though mostly I was in the way.


Ahead, a sidewalk waiter serves coffee

and toast.  It’s all a blowback to another

era that I miss.





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