A Capacity for Limitless Serenity
Matilda Halbert pushed into Meng’s
at exactly five in the afternoon
with her red shopping cart
empty except for cardboard
covering the bottom making it perfectly flat.
Not tall to begin with her bent back
created a wee woman in her early seventies
without a spot of gray in her auburn hair.
Each day like clockwork
white rice floated into the cart.
At times, wonton soup, that mostly in winter.
mostly about the weather
and especially about wind
which she didn’t like because gusts jostled her
making breathing difficult
If married, no ring,
perhaps the husband long dead
and if she bore children, no word of them.
Our brief conversations stayed put at the counter
as Matilda never dined in Meng’s
but through the timbre of her voice
I understood utter contentment.
The red cart the white rice
and wonton soup
a bit of bliss
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