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
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.