Two Articulates Paralyzed by Words

She had a plaintive look

at the post office

as she stopped in passing

and squared her heels against

the bottom row of chrome P.O. boxes.

“Talk to me,” her eyes requested.

Small talk.

The weather.

How’s your daughter?

But she said nothing,

And he just said “hello,”

sliding by as if he were on a desparate errand.

He did remember her first name, for once,

but to say it might betray some interest in talking.

And he could no more talk small talk

than she could comfortably return it.

They both wished that

they had such grace

that they could share some words

and not be so aware

of the words they chose,

or of the books that

they had been reading.

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