My mother and I went to a music store
one day when I was nine or ten,
skipping school because of a nervous stomach.
She’d promised to buy me the sheet music
for Man of La Mancha because I’d heard it
in a commercial, liked it, and my father
who was teaching me free weights
had placed her in charge of his paychecks.
On the off chance you’ve read my poems before
you know she’s dead and I’m something
of a melancholic sap, but what I was
just thinking is that I have no idea
what that store was called, what town
it was in or even how she found it
in the age before the internet,
though I can still remember her smile
as I prowled the rows for what I wanted,
maybe puffed up a little, trying to look tough
as I moved between bright aisles of flutes,
entranced by all that sparkle and sheen,
French horns turning in gilded circles.