That’s what I thought as I walked
Through the colonnade-like structure
A stoa of sorts
Along the front wall of the Giant food store
In the Westgate Plaza Shopping Center
On the busy suburban six-lane Route 234
On a chilly March afternoon.
The shopping center,
A strip mall really, has no plaza that I can find.
The developers must have liked the sound of it,
Had wanted to jazz it up a bit.
It is euphonious,
A gold star for euphony, then,
For you, faceless and unknown developers.
So, no plaza but
A stoa, and a small one at that,
About fifty feet long
With three lintels eight feet up
Held by a brick post on one side and
A brick wall on the other,
Barely the width of a shopping cart.
No arches, but I was somehow
Minded of the stoa at Athens where
Zeno the Stoic met his students
Except here instead of ancient Greeks in tunics
(Who didn’t know they were ancient)
Clustered around their teacher
Walking, questioning, discussing
Perhaps letting the warm Mediterranean sun
Warm their faces between questions,
But this stoa lies hard by a traffic lane
At the end of rows of parking spaces
Providing sanctuary from cars,
Not beside olive groves,
And the only other occupant that day,
A nondescript man of no discernible age
Pushed a shopping cart with
A chuck of cheese
And an onion
I heard the clatter of the cart’s wheels
On concrete and thought I would have to
Move out of the way
But he turned off, no doubt to drive home
And later walk with his family
Questioning the nature of reality
And together seeking examples of
The beautiful and the good.
March 7, 2016