Thursday, May 17, 2007

Middle of the Week

Because she took so long,
Her plump white hands
Slow and precise
With the groceries:
Paper inside plastic,
Not paper or,
And the woman ahead
Who, matronly and patient,
Coifed, ran her check card
Two, three times, first upside down,
Then again when it processed
At last, and wrote her check
Neatly with an enameled pen,
One hundred sixteen dollars
And thirty eight cents,
“What was that?” asked the woman,
“One hundred sixteen dollars
And thirty eight cents”
Said the cashier, and I repeat,
Loudly, in my head.
Because of this I wobble
On tired ankles, lean this way
Then that in the small space
Between carts, confection and counter,
And recount my items, 19,
Seven too many for express,
And I fantasize
That I fall into my cart,
Eyes rolling back, crossing,
Head lolling stupidly,
That I drool, mouth open,
Tongue askew, arms and legs
Until the man behind me
Bumps my cart
And pushes me up to the cashier
Who duly notes my condition
As a clear effect
Of standing in a short line
For too long.

C. Bronco

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