by Diana Raab

Stepping through its beaded door
was like walking into a time cloud,
whiffs of marijuana and hashish pipes
lined up by color in the cabinet
to the right, behind which stood
a hippie and his girl, with beads
and long hair, who lived in the VW van
parked in the rear, the one
splattered with colorful peace
signs like the psychedelic posters
on their store’s walls, glowing
under the hidden black light.

Nirvana was a safe haven,
offering a calm which transcended
my fifteen-year-old my psyche,
magnified by the freedom
to wander through without shoes
or purchase, unlike the neighboring stores
on Union Turnpike in the heart of Queens.

The place exuded the potent energy
of my love generation. I wish
there was a store like it here
in my new neighborhood, but I suppose
I’ll have to settle for the natural health
food store, which offers the same sort of claim.

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