Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Post Easter

Across the street from our Odd Fellows window
this early morning
as the sun illumined the Five Points
at a sharp angle
a flock of gold finches momentarily
the budding trees in front 
of the Clarke Hotel -
with its long-vacant restaurant
and its troubled boutique hotel
above, where the room lights are
rarely lit

and the tax bills pile up
and the operators are not returning
 phone calls just now

The finches are mindless of the 
faltering commerce
they love the trees that spring from
the serious outbreak of cobblestones
through the sidewalk 

they fly not when the fire engines
come past with their horns blaring
on their likely Avalon ambulance calls

the finches only at their will 
flit yon and hither:
now they are here
and now they are not

reminding of the early days of my life
when the Clarke
was Clarke's Walgreen Drugstore
and my grandfather
knew most of the thronging customers
who came in for their medicines

and waited for Haynes to wait on them
he of the white smock
the medicine man who was
only a clerk
but they either did not care
he was without portfolio
in the mortar and pestle department

or regarded him with the respect
they felt due such a gentleman
who could also play the banjo.
A quiet fast-moving man
I watched work as a little boy;

a gentleman
who asked to be excused
and then strode behind the glass
partitions to counsel with the
real chemists
and pick up the parcels
for the trusting customers.

The finches in the trees today
may know this is just
an in-between time for the Clarke
and they do have their business there.

Looking the other way from that window
I see Dee writing a letter
maybe a note for hospitalized Duffy
with whom Dee has discussed the book
in front of her at her left:
a gift from my father Leslie V. Dix
to my mother, Ruth

which Dee may read to Duffy
in her hospital room today
because Duffy thought the book
she once had
was so amusing
and somewhat belittling of women
in those early 1940 years

You, like the finches outside,
had to be there......