Poem a day: Man in the Bookstore

This is from 2003. I remember this man quite well, perhaps because he made enough of an impression to send me home to write this. The book store was Half Price books on 1960 behind Willie’s.

In a month
I came four times
Friday, Saturday, Wednesday,
Saturday morning.
Each time
he was there—
the Asian gentleman
on the couch,
holding a book of music
and a pencil,
rocking back and forth
humming—
to the music?
Once I came to wander.
Once for drama.
Twice I read romance.
My sons purchased
a role playing book
while I bought a history
of the theater.
Always he was there—
alone and
not quite oblivious.
He watched me walk by,
answered my query about a book.

I wonder
if he is here with family
and knows no one else
and is lonely
for a world he understands
and because of this
sits in a bookstore
rocking himself
and humming music.
I wonder
is he retired
and lonely for the music
he used to teach?
I wonder
but I don’t ask.
Asking would be personal
and rude.