Are You Ok?

Big parking lots make me feel so lonely.

So far from the street, so far from the sidewalk,
so far from the bus stop.

Tethered to nothing but the errand,
I walk to my destination,
certain of the possibility of being apprehended
for breaking an unknown law.

Quaint 1950s America wouldn’t make me
walk the expanse of a football field
to buy milk, bread and razors.

I remember the walks
from my grandmother’s house
to the Safeway.

Armed with my grandmother’s
shakily written list, with prices in the margin,
I soldiered down the street
and through a lot
behind a bar
called the Pyle In.

On one trip,
I walked half a block before I encountered
a man lying on the sidewalk in my path.
He stirred.

“Are you ok,” I asked.

Rubbing his eyes, he said, “What’s ok?”

We both knew here was nothing else to say.
I continued to the store,
saying nothing to my grandmother
when I returned.

To this day, I can think of a dozen responses
in answer to a child’s “Are you ok?”

But, the parking lots are so big,
why would there ever be a need?

One thought on “Are You Ok?

  1. Loneliness and isolation — that’s what I thought when I read this. A city full of people, yet the isolation is everywhere. I also pictured a child walking for groceries (seeing myself from my own tasks) in a far different time from now — making me wonder in what ways we’ve changed and then if we really ever changed, just now see things a bit differently. Thank you for posting this!

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