• shelter

    by  • January 21, 2011 • Uncategorized • 3 Comments

    I talked to one guy today
    who got tired of construction
    and “making the wrong
    people rich,” which was as
    far as he got before another,
    who used to work with an
    autistic kid, asked for help –
    we were cooking breakfast
    together for folks at the shelter
    who stood single file for
    sausage, oatmeal, and eggs.

    As they took their trays,
    I wondered what stories
    were passing by untold:
    the dishwasher in shirt and tie;
    the baby in the stroller;
    the old man who could not
    speak and only growled –
    with a smile on his face;
    the four men in the back
    who ate and never spoke;
    the woman serving coffee.

    I stood in the middle of
    the used book store of life,
    where worn copies of great
    works seem to be stacked
    to go unnoticed that they
    might remain unread
    and remainders remain
    because we’re serving lunch.
    “The rice was a little undercooked,”
    said one, kindly, “but I loved
    the concept of the meal.”

    Me, too. I love a table
    big enough for food critics
    and failures, architects and
    addicts, teachers and
    turncoats, homeless,
    hopeful, left out, left over,
    betrayers and betrayed,
    where – for a few moments –
    every book on the shelf
    was dusted off long enough
    to be recognized.

    Peace,
    Milton

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    3 Responses to shelter

    1. Maureen in Minnesota
      January 22, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      I love this. Love “used book store of life.” Perfect.

    2. January 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

      Yes- I liked the line about the great works remaining unnoticed…
      and then later comparing the lives of those there to that of ‘used books’ being dusted off and brought out for a while 🙂
      Thank you!

    3. David R
      January 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Occasionally, a bibliophile such as yourself browses enough to quote one or two…
      Thanks.

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