Richard Shindell

The Grocer's Broom

from Somewhere Near Paterson


The grocers broom, back and forth
Glides across the warn wooden floor
He stirs the dust of the day
Counts the change before closing the drawer
Thirty years out the door
Because the landlord wanted five hundred more

Some stop by the store
Just to see if hes doing OK
Its a crime, its a shame
This old neighborhood wont be the same
You could take a lazy cruise
Over five thousand fathoms of blue

To pass those idle days
I suppose Ive worked enough for one life anyway
Ive earned these idle eays

He shuts the light, says goodnight
Makes his way up the wide boulevard
He stops to talk  farethewell, take good care
Its a beautiful night
High above, a million stars
The city blocks seem like five million more
Than a few hundred yards

He climbs the stoop, finds the key
And passes into the dark living-room
He sees the old sunken chair
Where silence sits playing her flute
He finds the tune, he hums along
She will teach him her five hundred songs

And theyll pass

updated: 9 months ago