Charles Chaim Wax

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.
We spoke
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
protecting her
and wonton soup
a bit of bliss
on winter

Submitted: Sunday, March 05, 2006

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  • not on poemhunter anymore (3/16/2006 10:00:00 PM)

    a strong, character-driven poem, and touching at that.

    that you're able to glean so much from wonton soup shows your skill at focusing on particular things. i'd like to read more of Matilda. (Report) Reply

  • Mary Nagy (3/14/2006 10:02:00 AM)

    Charles, I believe you've mentioned Mengs before........I always get the image of the diner on Seinfeld (I don't know why) in your poems. I love it. This woman seems to know what's important..........great poem. Sincerely, Mary (Report) Reply

  • Gina Onyemaechi (3/11/2006 5:51:00 PM)

    Charlie, Matilda Herbert now stands to me as an example in being happy within oneself, whatever your lot. People-knowing writing from you as usual, Charlie. Warm regards, Gina. (Report) Reply

  • Anna Russell (3/6/2006 9:28:00 AM)

    Wonderful story, great imagery and a well evoked character. All in all, pretty damned good!
    Anna xxx (Report) Reply

  • Ernestine Northover (3/5/2006 2:06:00 PM)

    Another lovely story from you pen Charles. Your characters are so alive, and colourful. Loved it. love Ernestine XXX (Report) Reply

  • ***** ********* (3/5/2006 7:56:00 AM)

    Your poems are one of the small things in my life that make me smile Charles. Limitless serenity comes is small packages, and they just keep coming. 10 from Tai (Report) Reply

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