[In response to the Day Four challenge of the WordPress Writing 101 Project http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-four/ , I am, for the first time, posting some of my poetry… This is a little triptych of observational poems on the subject of loss which I put together a year or so ago and have since tried to touch up…]
Stuff Picked Up at the Supermarket
(A Triptych with a Kiss in the Middle)
Shop Girl Mopping up Eggs
The girl kneels dutifully in her uniform,
attempting with a single damp dish-cloth
to slop a whole half dozen broken eggs
back into their box. The sticky mess
of albumin, burst yolk and shards of shell
oozes around the chapped varnish of her
fingernails. She goes about it
with a clumsy, uncomplaining,
methodical sense of purpose. As if
omelets could be unmade,
Boy Rescuing Beads
A kid of about six in the burger bar
outside the supermarket
has just had a necklace bought for him
He fingers the multi-colored beads
excitedly, eyes filled with glee,
as mom&dad munch on Big Macs,
fiddling so frenetically at the string
of fake jewels
that it explodes in a cascading
rainbow of variously-sized hailstones
all over the shop.
First fat tears well,
then his face bursts suddenly
into full-blown tempest of grief…
Everyone near rushes to their feet
to help… The boy clutches at his mother’s inner thighs.
Sobs ebb and flow,
sometimes surging up again in a sudden swell of remembrance
or thanks, as his father and nearby strangers crawl around
on all fours after the scattered beads,
scooping them from the gutters
into a plastic cup,
like votive offerings…
Touched by this act of grace, the boy
is soon skipping down the escalator,
hot on the tail of one stubborn fleeing bead,
smiling, laughingly, as if it were a game,
All ends well.
As mom&dad traipse off into the dark,
son skipping happily between their held hands,
I spot the large pink bauble that was the center-piece,
left behind, being crushed under a heavily-laden shopping cart,
The chubby girl who works on the cheese counter
is pleased that her paycheck has come through
this month & her debit card is good for lunch.
She gives it a triumphant little peck of a kiss.
The Contents of a Shopping Cart
The girl before me in the check-out queue
has crackers and coffee filters in her basket,
a single oven-ready meal, two bottles
of beer, cleaning fluid, juice,
and bread rolls. As if breakfast
were her main meal, or she were
preparing to wake up with someone
new and special for the first time tomorrow morning.
What would she do, I wonder, were these simple,
yet not so simple, pleasures to suddenly be snatched away?
Mount barricades? Storm Congress?
Fight riot police in the streets?
Take up arms—first bits of wood,
then Molotov cocktails, then Kalashnikovs,
then shoulder-held anti-aircraft missiles?
Take over the TV station?
Bark out demands?