on a winter afternoon in 1976
while running from my life in California,
barely able to croak out my need
for relief from a chest cold I feared
was turning into something worse,
I saw the pharmacist turn,
look me up and down,
tilt his head to one side.
“San Francisco, California,”
he said with a smile.
“I never miss.
“Yes” I rasped, and although
I felt my center shift, tilt,
I could not allow myself
to let amazement in, ask
who he was and
how and why he knew that
at a time when I could not
recognize my own voice,
was so intent then
on only collecting experiences,
glass beads for later sorting,
stringing into bright patterns.