I lived in the attic back then,
and late those evenings I had to study
and couldn’t afford to go drinking
I’d run down to the deli and buy
bagels and smoked lox.
I’d watch the lame son
wrap each item in white paper
while his father, coughing at the register,
pointed to the cans on the wall
and screamed, “Serve yourself! Serve yourself!”
I’d grab a tin of baked beans and he’d smile.
Now, years later, I return to the deli
and find that it’s closed.
The sign on the door confirms
what everyone else already knows:There has been a death in the family.