Interlude in Trader Joe's Parking Lot

by Joanne Jagoda

A man playing a sax

sits on a makeshift stool

in Trader Joe's parking lot,


scrounging for his three kids

his sad story splayed

on tattered cardboard,


his reedy notes

a brass confession

soulful, plaintive,


squandered in this shitty parking lot

with the bouquet of urine

drifting in from dark corners.


I'm pulled in by the music

like a rogue wave,

and he has no idea I'm drowning

in long-forgotten memories…


Two kids under the spell of young love,

slow dancing under swaying palms,

rum and cokes with paper umbrellas

a pony-tailed sax player spewing pure honey.


I'm still clutching my cart,

loaded with organic what-evers

lost in sweet reverie.


 I give him a few dollars,

carefully placed in his open case.

He nods, I quietly clap

in this ersatz concert hall.


Don't stop playing sax man,

take me with you

somewhere, anywhere,

to when the promise of our young lives

was still dancing in front of us.