Batteries Not Included

I'm talking to a 23-year-old
from Long Island on the sidewalk
who answers a suicide hotline
when she isn't tending bar.
The obvious similarity goes unstated.

"One time I heard a man in the background
trying to talk a jumper off the edge of a bridge.
He gave up and the line went dead.
The police were called
but never found her.
We assumed that she did it."
The euphemism goes unquestioned.

We pass a wine bar
filled with young women in red dresses
taking photos for their bachelorette party.
Salmon in a barrel, though I'm glad
to be preoccupied.
A few blocks later
another thirty-year process comes up.

"My father collects sea glass.
At the beach last summer
my boyfriend gave him a piece
but it was fake."
She explains the litmus test.
Her old man put it in his mouth
to wash off the salt.
It was no longer opaque.
"He threw it back into the ocean."
Her boyfriend was confused
but I was not
and did the same
at the next intersection.

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