Another Taste by George Bishop

(visiting a shelter six years later)

It was time for dinner at the homeless shelter
I drank myself into years before, suspicion
wherever it wanted to be. The not-so-homeless
gathered near the exit trying to appear
familiar. Regulars stood quietly in line.
They knew what they needed.

I volunteered to serve the beets
because I knew how they could taste
the stage of hunger, sense the fear
of stains. All through the meal
the music of spoons
and the shuffle of lies
thickened in the ceiling
fan that slowly turned like the timer
of an empty stove.

Before leaving I stopped to sample
the pages of free paperbacks
turning like different sides
of a story, to sink in the pillows
of shoes. Here, you can walk
all night in one eye and never hear
your name.

 2008 - Bishop

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