ALEXANDER AND BALTHAZAR
Alexander and Balthazar were brothers.
They owned the only pharmacy around.
Alexander looked a bit like Freud,
serious and a bit dour.
He was a tad fairer than Balthazar.
If they were twine,
he’d be taut, and Balthazar would be limber.
As a kid,
I’d walk the distance and present
a verbal list of symptoms
my mother had made me repeat to her.
They moved purposefully behind the counter
in an air appropriate for an apothecary.
The shelves reached the ceiling
and held hundreds of jars,
bottles, and brown packages
tied up with twine.
One of them would adjust the rolling ladder
attached to the shelves,
climb, and fetch the medicine.
They knew where everything was stored.
They were patient and kind
and loved my mother.
Every Xmas they gave her a Pear’s soap
that was oval, transparent-brown,
and apothecary fragrant.