At This Very Moment

by Mary TallMountain

Mary TallMountain

At this very moment
as anti-Marxists
and anti-anarchists
and anti-revolutionary liberals
debate what's the matter with the places
they've never been to,
a very tall man
a very gaunt man
a very weary man
with greasy hair
and dirty hands
and a pressed cotton shirt
that is as clean
as it could be
has borrowed the ashtray
from my table,
returned it empty
and is proceeding to smoke
the butts.

He has straightened all the chairs,
bussed all the tables,
hoping to find
a scrap of dignity.
Now he's settled down to eat
a bowl of chowder
he believes the manager
has given him in payment.
He runs the clean white napkin
over his neck and face,
twice quickly in his ears
and over the seat of his chair.

A human being
approaching some stale clam chowder
with the reverence
of one kneeling at an altar;
A human being
sipping some lousy clam chowder
with the tenderness of a lover
in the belly of
the world's most envied abundance.

Last updated May 20, 2019