I’m serving lunch, on my shift at 28th and I
A residence for Borough Park and Monsey’s mentally ill and clinically insane.
The big bay windows give view of a street.
Schoolchildren rush home in their pleated plaid uniforms
Inside Shprintzy strings beads to make a bracelet.
Clumsy large weathered hands and tiny colorful plastic beads
Another patient jumps up and down maniacally and points out the window
At the Indian women and their colorful sari’s
She chants and sings unrelated words as she points a wet (slobber covered) hand at the window
I clear lunch by swiping the plastic tablecloth cover
And I put it in the trash with the food and plastic utensils that remain.
Wipe it clean with Clorox bleach and a paper towel
I wag a finger at Perel, who is picking through the trash.
She grins at my disapproval and swallows a piece of leftover fruit
A man looks invades our window, I make eye contact, look away and change the radio station.
They can see us just as clearly as we can see them; I think we disturb the neighborhood
Being so shamelessly visible
But we leave the blinds open because who cares, and also we like the sunlight.