Regarding me over bins of oatmeal and millet,

not comprehending choices –

where is the plain, brown, recognizable?


Offer of assistance precipitates wonder:

Do I work there?

Perhaps, and one never knows another’s motives,

What qualifies me to answer?


I smile as she wonders aloud,

Why would you help?

Never having had this asked, I am miffed;

glibly answer, Because I was raised that way.


And perhaps it’s true, as a jingle plays

in the back of my head;

not my parents’ doing, but good enough.

Service, I say, is purpose;

What harm can it do?

Stumped, her mouth twitches in nervous retort,

I like your hair.