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An Israeli Girl Working In A New York Thriftstore

Her beauty sneaks up on you
and is compounded
of knowing wisdom, compassion,
wit,
and a blonde slimness
wholly unAmerican.
"Are you Russian? "I guess.
"I was born in Jaffa."
"Yes, but..."
"....my parents immigrated
from Sebastopol."
The shop, church-run,
is filled with
gentle, lost, pensioners,
the homeless or near homeless,
the occasional youth
killing time
or searching for
a surprising garment.
The shop's books
are rather sad,
refugees
from earlier eras
when books and writers,
not bankers,
ruled New York.

You realize
you love this girl.
You could have made
a life with her,
and children too,
were you
30 years younger.

Now
you're back on the sidewalk,
running errands,
a watch
running slowly down
keeping worse and worse time
falling ever farther behind

standard time
the time this girl keeps
the time that will
tick her
into a marriage
with a young man
who doesn't deserve her,
who lucks into her.

He's able, vigorous, virile,
speaks 4 languages,
but is not that special.

The marriage
will succeed
because of her wisdom,
her patience,
her tender, yet tough,
heart.

He will only dimly
comprehend
how lucky he is
to have stumbled into her,
to have
her.

Their children
will love her,
will feel so loved by her
that their adult lives,
lived away from her,

will be a puzzlement.
Nothing.
No lovers, no vocations or vacations,
no friends or coworkers,
will ever compare
with being
raised
by her.

One day
she will simultaneously
be awarded
the Nobel Prizes
for Wifehood
and Motherhood.

The Nobel Committee
will invent these awards
especially
for her
and make them
one-offs.
They will
never be awarded
to anyone else.

She will turn them down
of course.
"It was never about
medals, " she says.
But she accepts
the money
and directs
it be given
to the gentle,
lost,
people
roaming thriftstores
all over
New York,
searching for
that perfect
bargain,
something,
they know not what,
till they
find it.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Topic(s) of this poem: beauty
POET'S NOTES ABOUT THE POEM
The girl is gone.The thriftstore still exists on the Upper Westside.
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