It Used To Really Bug Me

Some one brought several small children
to a reading in a book store, the kids
slowly turning into their center of attention
as their frustration at being confined
became more and more vocal,
their mom doing her best to quiet
the wee ones, putting a bottle back
in the mouth of the baby in the stroller,
shushing the baby's older sister,
giving another toy to the little boy—
but of course it doesn't work.

Oh, it used to really bug me,
like scratches and gouges on a record,
but tonight, I sense how much
the kid's mom wants to hear the speaker,
how much she needs to be here, and
I'm touched that she's willing to work
so hard dealing with the children
for the sake of that, even though
she can't be following the story very well,
with the constant distractions.

Yeah, it used to really bug me,
I would've been giving her some
evil glances, like the people around me
are doing, but tonight I'm still able to catch
the gist of the reading, which is, enjoyable—
heartfelt, and humorous...
a memoir about the author's grandfather—
and besides, somehow I don't think
Grandpa Goldberg minds being
in the company of these whispers,
cries, words, and laughter.

It used to really bug me, and
when the foursome eventually exits,
apparently well past bed-time, there's
a collective sigh of relief from the audience,
which I can appreciate...although, for me,
listening to the story after they leave
is like eating a bowl of soup,
with the salt and pepper
suddenly removed