The Grocer's Broom

Richard Shindell

The grocer's 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 he's doing OK
It's a crime, it's a shame
This old neighborhood won't be the same
You could take a lazy cruise
Over five thousand fathoms of blue

To pass those idle days
I suppose I've worked enough for one life anyway
I've 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
It's 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 they'll pass …