Monday, November 8, 2010


I don’t remember how my wife and I
found our second apartment. The first,
just a studio, was too small, too fast.
Noisy neighbors, no place to park,
a shower that abruptly turned cold.

Maybe we found it in the Star Ledger,
it was valuable then, everybody read it,
everybody bought it, everybody needed it.
A colorful brochure, a floor plan layout of
a one bedroom, ground floor apartment.

Close to the Parkway, Turnpike, Route 1.
It would make it easier to get to work
is what I told Marty, as I approached him
for a loan for the hefty security deposit.
He was my boss, but a different kind of boss.

It always felt like talking to an uncle, a brother,
a friend. After a year he looked after me and
cared for me, treated me like I was important
to business, included me in the many plans for
the company he started with his cousin, Alan.

Don’t pay me back; I want you to work it off
on Saturdays through the summer months.

A handshake, a pile of hundreds stacked neatly
in a blue and white United Jersey Bank envelope
and one of the company’s box trucks got us moved.

Weeks passed, we worked side by side in the heat.
Unloading trucks, loading trucks, preparing orders.
Each afternoon around three, an orange soda break.
In September, we agreed- the debt was done, settled,
paid back the old fashioned way, with time and sweat.

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