Making a grocery list, I sit at a desk that rests
in front of a window from which hangs, as a thin curtain,
a faded pastel cloth, once used to cover a table
that served a listening post.
Said table would be adorned with bread from a bakery
and grapes from a grocery, with a book for me to read
while I sat there waiting for no thing in particular,
ears attuned to passersby.
Located in a hallway of a student center of
a large university, my job for an afternoon
each week was to be an ear for any passing by who
sought to unburden a self.
I provided this service for eight years and overtime
I met friends for life, from one who was my first customer,
on the way to take his life, to one who had found hers as
a faithful Hindu swami.
The first, I talk with now and then, as we walk the same streets.
Of the swami I’ve lost track, as she moved on from serving
the post with me to holy matters other side the earth,
leaving me a pastel cloth.