|Photo posted by Brian Miller at|
They looked like a mother and son,
waiting in line to feed the machine,
recycling old bottles and cans.
The line was long - black bags bulging
over the sides of shopping carts.
The automatic door whooshed open
as people approached or passed,
cheerfully accommodating - slick
and smiling like a used car salesman.
Red, white and blue plastic flags
waved every time the doors exhaled,
shutting someone out.
I walked by them, on into the market,
smiling at the woman as I passed.
She gave a polite, automatic nod.
An echo of my mother’s voice said:
“Down in the mouth”, her old saying
about people in the 1930’s.
The son too, wore his mother’s depression
on his face, along with his embarrassment,
bitter gall lying just behind his lips,
waiting to spew the wrath of his soul
at the first hint of provocation. The doors
whooshed again - swallowed them both.
Read more poems prompted by the photo at