The Lady at the Bank
I met a woman on the concrete steps outside the bank
Younger than me. Kempt. Slender. Pretty.
Gracious too. She was kind not to comment that my Mercedes,
parked in the turn lane, blocked her view.
Not as cold as I could be, she smiled. Sitting on newspaper
Inside, the ATM rolled out my hundred. Incidental
Five new twenties. I didn't bother to check my balance.
On my way out I stopped.
Was she shy? Or just polite?
Who will notice the scattering of coins if their shoe box
is pressed against the wall?
Or the tiny sign with its tiny script? I have no choice, it
How can that be? Abrupt.
Arthritis. Heart, Depression. Baby sitting scarce.
They choose not to help.
The rent takes it all. She had the numbers.
Here! Still curt. Disbelief or anger?
What the heck, I had four others.
She opened her arms. Can I give you a hug?
No, that's okay.
Sirloin for roasting. Twenty.
Ahi for sushi, cod for smoking. Twenty.
Pâté, crackers and wine for tomorrow's game. Twenty.
Shelled prawns for the freezer. Twenty.
Why just one?
Why no hug?
Why am I ashamed?