Multi-Tasking by Lauro Palomba
Strolling through sliding glass doors. Impersonating patrons. Three blue officers in knee-length shorts. Gun-adorned belts, assorted accoutrements of order. Often summoned here. Today, their own initiative. Eyes scooping up faces. Dragneting. Bail jumpers. Warrant dodgers. Trial absentees. Any other lucky find.
The computer banks a rich catch zone. The weary homeless. The criminally convicted, idle, disposed. The uniquely unsound. A verbal piscary to fill the daily quota of foul speech. A fish fry party din. Air-conditioned chatter. Airy hopes. Smartphone disputes all can judge. Personal food courts at each desk. Mouths. Fingers dipped in salty chips. Oozing butter tarts. Meaty buns. Applied to keyboards. Flavouring them for future users. While screens explode. Flash. Amuse the arcade minds.
Last stop. Bathroom. Occupied by emptied beer cans. A needle that shirked the disposal bin; soiled paper towels by the trash can. Soapy counters. Officers going. Hunches unrewarded. Next time.
For these wonders, children brought along. Shrieking infants. Story hour. Instill the habits early.
Movies and music scanned. Carried out. In the low-volume spaces, books shelved. Untouched like yearning virgins. Keen with words rendered dumb.
A library demoted. Degraded. Social crumbling catchall. Netting for the falling bodies. Someone sanctioned this. Underwrote these values.
Lauro Palomba has taught ESL and done stints as a freelance journalist and speechwriter. Approximately ninety of his poems and stories have appeared in American and Canadian literary journals.
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