It doesn’t exist any more
generally and specifically
a drapery – a little everything shop
gloves, hats, scarves, sewing accessories
and stamps, small toys, magazines
a woman always – warm and chatty
surviving on cheer, service and lack of staff wages.
The earthquake put the building out of business
the malls, the business.
A winter’s day before the earthquake
and the malls morphed from rival to predator.
Oversight cycled on errands – without gloves.
Turn back? Bravado thought cold not terminal,
besides it wasn’t that far.
Roadworks = detour = never used street
peripheral vision snags on the small red sign – Stamps
here as good as anywhere.
Small, worn middle-aged palms
give stamps and take money –
“ you should have gloves on a day like this.
Cynicism thinks opportunism
hands reached beneath the counter.
“These were a trade sample … take them, they’re yours.”
Wholesale value? $3-$5. Retail ? $6-$8. Humanity? Priceless