The End of a Love Affair

It’s all the rage

these days. People

dying and going

away and here I

come late as usual

after the closing to

see what I can see.

I remember more than

what I see now and

that’s the trouble.

We live and remember

and there is so much we

can never forget.

It’s like a great show

closing on Broadway

or a curvaceous ship going

under the waves.

Everything had a place.

Everyone knew their lines

and now it’s all gone.

There’s nothing left,

except a mannequin

in the upstairs window.

They used to rent

costumes. This one is

a Tyrolean maid with white

blouse and laced bodice.

She’ll never walk again.

Here in the dumpster

is the revolving display for

reading glasses. I bought

glasses off that very rack.

Now it’s going to the dump

along with paper flowers,

unused prescription bottles

and a wine caddy. They sold

wine here. I walk out front

and look inside and I

shouldn’t have looked inside,

because although I stand

out here and remember,

looking in drives all my

memories further away.

It’s so stark and barren and

I hate this. I hate everything

just now but this stupid old

brick building painted blue,

because here I dreamed

a thousand dreams, every time

I mailed a manuscript and bought

a rubber duck to commemorate

the hope of what it means

to mail a manuscript.

Every bottle of wine

or shampoo, every gift card

and costume I ever rented

all came with hope because I tried

to do what I did for fun or love

when I might have done

it somewhere else

more economically.

I’m writing and speaking

out loud as I write of Mallatt’s

Pharmacy in Madison, Wisconsin

which closed this month

after ninety years in business.

I knew it the last

eight and I’ve come here

wearing leathers on my

motorcycle on a day too cold,

but what the hell,

because I’ve vowed

to carry on the zany,

quirky, goofy, makeshift

way of this beloved

place for the sake of what’s

most at risk in this

God forsaken age.

We needed you

the same way we

need a special moment when

nothing less and nothing

conventional will do. I miss you.

I wish you hadn’t gone

away. I don’t know why,

but usually it’s the money.

I hope the two of you will

be very happy together.