A Starbucks in a grocery store,
it’s still a place to shop
for food, and in this state,
wine and beer—a super market—
what my mother would call
the Acme (pronounced ack-a-me
in the vernacular of “The Valley”
where I grew up)—
those early places that put
the small Mom and Pop, corner
stores with personal
one-on-one service and where I,
even as a kid, could say,
“put it on our bill,” out of business.
No receipt. No stolen identity fears,
just trust. A time and place where everybody
knew my name and who my
family was, and knew more about all
of us than any one of us did. And
the cash register had a crank handle,
and I could walk there
in five minutes and nobody
had a credit card and Starbucks
and my first child were still
then, 15 years from now.
That Mom and Pop stuff
is all gone now.
But there’s $14.65 left
on my Starbucks gift card.
Look both ways, there is no time limit on gift cards,
and I will think of you every time I use it.
Mind the gaps, they have limits and must be used.