Shop, Centre Street

the passer-by notices the crumbling shop
a notice on the pillar inside; helper
wanted
urgently

the print faded, the helper too

a hunchback appears from the pantry, saucer
carrying a bruised cup
chipped off bone china
holding tea from 1942

somehow, still warm, the shirt wrinkled

clogged in the shelves
receipts and papers yellow
a photograph of a dead customer
a certificate of ownership

strewn around are muttered words, softened

an evening parks outside, starts
begging for a place to rest the night
like everyday, shooed away
made to join the other beggars
at edge of the square, counting coins
the shutter
tiredly
descends

elsewhere the city erupts with life

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