And I Walked Through the Market and Stared at the Harbor Lights Through the Soft Rain

Photograph by Jose Padua
Tonight the check-out clerk
at the Martin’s food market
who looks like Jimmie Dale Gilmore
at around the time
of the Spinning Around the Sun album
replied to my “Good, how are you?”
which was my response to his “Hi, how are you?”
with a half shake of his head
and a plainly drawled,
“Well, I guess it’s another day in paradise.”
It’s what he says every time,
probably not so much
because he thinks it’s a great line
that like a funny story is worth
hearing every day,
but because it’s something
he’d like to believe;
and every time he says it
I laugh,
not because I’m trying to be polite,
nor because I’m genuinely amused
at every instance
when he half slyly/half sarcastically
proclaims this to be paradise,
but because I too
would like to believe it.
And sometimes the best way
to express belief of any kind
is to laugh,
whether it’s intensely or hysterically
or so quietly that the only person
who can hear it is yourself—
ten minutes, an hour,
or several days later
when you’re sitting alone in the house
waiting for everyone to get home.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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