Monday, November 21, 2011

box store

box store

a box store isn't
where they sell boxes.
it's where they sell stuff
they bought "in volume"
and marked up only as far
as the stuff would look

i go to one of these
stores. it's where retail
items get one last chance,
like habitual felons.

i buy two bars of
Cashmere Bouquet soap
there because i need soap
and i've liked that name
for decades and it's a two-word
surrealistic poem.

the husband of the woman
in front of me in line to pay,
he's disabled. he leans on
one cart while she unloads
the other. they're around 40.
she hands him his retractable
cane, then unloads 2

rugs, 9 bags of gerbil food,
and 10 boxes of cereal.
as the cashier shoots
the items with his laser-gun,
he says to the other cashier,

"when do we get help?"
the woman in line ahead
of me to pay says, "are
you hiring?" the cashier
does not look at her and
says, "we just hired some
people. there's an application
over there." i watch

the disabled husband. he
keeps his game face. he refuses
to look ashamed. he looks
out but not down. i think
he was hurt on the job. badly.
like his leg is permanently wrong.

he still wears the jacket
with the label of his company.
his hair is neatly trimmed.

the cashier says, "will
that be credit or debit?"
the husband says, "debit."

Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom
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