A couple ambles in after their day of foster parenting.
A lawyer brings his teenage son. Another couple
has been packing for a trip. Someone else showered after a run.
All have come to listen to a friend read from his new book.

In the back of the store, between cookbooks and children’s books,
a few rows of chairs face the wooden podium.
As the audience settles in, a late arrival collapses a molded plastic chair.
The loud crack sharpens our focus.

The space is tranquil as words pour out in measured phrases.
The poet banters and connects with his audience,
who smile and nod as they relink to their own experiences.
The poet dryly comments on his unchanging tone.
His friends murmur in appreciation.

A child curled up in a chair looks up from his book,
wondering at the serene mood of the store.
What secrets might he overhear?

After the reading, friends wait for a book, a signature,
congratulate the writer, linger in this marketplace
of heightened feeling.

We savor leaving our own bodies for a few moments
and entering into the mind and soul of another

before we slip back into our own day,
breathing a bit more deeply
into the inner space
of imagination.