Soap and Cigarettes

His office smells like:
and cigarettes.
Like a dentist with a habit.

He shares a building with a lawyer who is never in.
Yellow legal pads
On top of a big desk
In a dark/cluttered/slightly-open-doored room.

Everything a-soak in cigarette smoke.
Even the paintings.
The open area that could be construed as a tiny lobby is neat, but dim.
Ashtray on every surface.

Perfumed with solace and solemnity.
I stare at a picture of a stream inside a wood.
Looking for any sign of reason, beauty or good.
Radio softly plays country music.

It’s cold outside.
Wet snow.
But it’s warm and dusty here.
The fabric on the chairs is stiff and speckled.

I’m waiting in the waiting room
For nothing but myself
I simply want to be around
Spending minutes off the shelf.

There are old editions of:
Field & Stream
National Geographic
Something tells me
I’m outside his demographic.

No. I’m waiting for him.
Just for a friendly face.
When he sees me, he says, “Hi!”
He seems like he likes me.
That’s unusual.

When you grow up in a rural area,
Any excuse to see people,
Whether you need their services or not,
Is a reason to put clothes on and be seen.

I want to be seen.

He’s like a dad.
The kind of dad you want your dad to be.
But he isn’t.
But it’s enough.

“I’m fine, Doc. Thanks for asking.”

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