2013-2014 Winter Issue


Americana - Steven B. Smith

Americana – Steven B. Smith

The Old Man of The Grocery Store

I have a small grocery store.
By morning light I stand wrapped in my white cotton apron.
Sweeping the sidewalk with an old broom.
Setting up the fresh new produce.
Plenty of turnips here.
Spinach leaves are glistening.
A radio broadcasts that sweet breath of the late 19th century.
Soon a child will stop for an apple.
Upon a lovely walk the morning rain rises through a quiet summer sunlit mist.

Upstairs I have an old couch.
A rotating fan beside the hand woven curtains by the 2nd floor window.
A hand cranked phonograph sits upon an enamel breakfast table.
A portrait of my universal rabbi hung upon a nail in the cracked plaster.
An early afternoon dog in the late light of morning.

An open crate of oranges.
The screen door slams.
I am the neighborhood grocer.
Be sure to trim off the red leaves from the rhubarb.
A rhubarb leaf hand stitched into an immigrant’s diary.
I rest peacefully in the time zone of fragrant morning produce.
The quiet early dawn for a youthful peddler packed with slow archival poetry
in the hospital light of skillfully painted planets.
Listening to aging photographs of a beautiful childhood.
The undertaker was carefully attaching her old handmade wings.

While I’m stacking the iceberg lettuce a customer squeezes a melon.
“May I help you?” I offer.
Sunlight cuts through the pane glass storefront window.
It is my grocery store.
I’m an immigrant from the old country.
An Eastern European voyager.
A traveler on the steamship.
Carrying an old brown leather bag.
My young feet wrapped in strips of aging cotton.

Steam billowing from the tall stacks of the creaking freighter.
Me, wrapped in a thick brown wool sweater.
Heavy dark trousers.
A crowd upon the decks
As we pass the monument.
Entering the harbor.
A new world…

This child of God stands upon the bow.
I light a cigarette.
The fog horn bellows into the morning light.
I feign innocence as we approach the beckoning shores.
Leaning against the rail.
Fog billowing before the gentle child of the night

I have a grocery store now
Sweet produce in the quiet morning
I lower the awning
with a long steel crank
and sweep the sidewalk.
Wrapped forever by the early daylight in my white cotton apron.

~ Peter Leon


Clatter of the Sea

Unvarnished truth

jagged hand blown glass
golden sliver in muddy water

rattled prism tinted sea stone


~ Margie Shaheed


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