Prayer in the Strip Mall, Bangor, Maine 

The week after Thanksgiving and the stores are decked out

for holiday shopping, including a T.J. Maxx, where what was

once too expensive loses its value and attracts us, there is a

store with a big yellow banner proclaiming GIANT BOOK SALE,

a seasonal operation carrying remaindered books, which doesn’t mean

that the books aren’t good, only that the great machinery

of merchandising didn’t engage its gears in quite the right way,

and I buy two books of poetry and am leaving the store, the first snowstorm

of the winter on the way, and as I get to the glass double doors

a bearded man with a cane is entering, he has been walking

with a woman who is continuing on to another store, and he

has a look that could make him either eccentrically brilliant

or just plain simple, and as I open one door and he opens the other

he turns and says, “I love you,” not to me but calling back to his

friend who is departing, only he’s said it looking at me, closest

to me, which is unintended love, random love, love that

should be spread throughout the world, shouted in our ears for free.

———

Only Time

“Only now

do you realize

how quickly

everything

passes

how we

are here for

a blink of God’s eye

how the light passes

by us and through us

how the world

began with a breath

and a cry

earth and sky.”