August 25, 2017
Photo by Stephen Borkowski

A Poem by Barry Hellman

If you don’t want to hear this,
say Next
with an exclamation point;
or say it the way tellers
at a bank do from behind
their cage– or people working
the counter at a deli,
the airport, the bakery;

either way, it’ll remind me
of how an audition ends
when they don’t think much
of your performance; or the way
my father said Next
when I told a joke
he didn’t think was funny.

And there have been moments
alone when the word
came to mind :
at an exit getting ready
to merge with a line of cars;
a Memorial Day Parade
waiting for another float
to pass down the street;
mother’s funeral
when someone said,
Now both your parents have died.

To submit a photo or a poem, email Interim Library Director Brittany Taylor at