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Brotherly Love

by Marlene Kilheffer

Balmy sunbeams chase our feet down the city street.

Chiding words from train traveler,
“Be quiet!”
Only a faint echo.
Head turning, confused expressions, haute couture attire unknown
All tells the secret…not local!

A celebrity is stopped on street by eager fans.
Bits of paper, napkins pushed into hands,
Strangers crowding close and phone cameras clicking.
Only hoping to shop incognito, he smiles,
Patiently gracious.

Lost again we ponder how to navigate the subway.
She smiles widely and her kind ebony face
welcomes our questions.
“Go here, not track A, track B. Hope you find your way.”

Nan Zhou Noodle House has best Chinese
food this gal ever tasted
Elbows touch elbows in crowded dining
“Please, may I have hot sauce?”
Mary gifts the young, Chinese couple.
“We are from Shanghai.”
“I know student from An Chi.”
“We have been to Lancaster.”
Back-and-forth conversation.
Gathering bags we move toward door.
He quickly rises, bowing, bowing with
heavily accented,
“Thank yous,” “Glad to meet you.”

Macy’s all Christmasy in historic
Wanamaker building.
Peace on earth, goodwill to men
Streams out from huge organ.
(No peace until Mary is found)
Doorman points to trolley station entrance.

30th St. station is 13 blocks away.
Feet now walk weary.
Last train leaves 9:45 PM.
Take the trolley?
What? Where? How?
Friendly face peers out of ticket booth
“Here’s your token. I love Miller’s
Smorgasbord and Shady Maple.”
Reluctant to end story, he now leans out the
Shouting to our vanishing backs,
“Ever go there?”

Nervous faces give us away
The impatient trolley driver suddenly
becomes helpful.
Loud announcements for each stop
Let’s all know we never traveled this way

We disembark and He/She/Crossdresser
offers help
Sapphire blue eyeshadow and black
eyeliner circle kind eyes.
He raises his tattooed arm and points out
the way to Trader Joes.
“Thank you,” we say
He waves goodbye walks into the night

Busy grocery store, aisles packed, cart jam
Doobie Brothers singing, “What a Fool
Soon has stock boy, jiving and lip syncing
With late night friendliness, he says,
“What can I help you find?”
“This is the fast line to check out.”

Shop-til-you-drop day is over.
On westbound train with heads buried in
Mary, with 20/20 vision looks up and says,
“Can I check out large print books from the
Laughing tears, we cannot stop
We rest our heads back
Kristen reflects,
“People were kind to us today.”

Some say Filthadelphia.
Today, I saw Philadelphia.

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