by Lee Nash
You can tell the lonely ones, those with sad baggage –
they linger a little too purposely between the racks,
procrastinate at the till. Walled in by the cast-offs,
a woman tells you her son was killed by a tractor –
briefly, you enter the perversity of her pain.
She samples a square of raw organic chocolate –
unreasonable in this heat – her smokers’ lines deepening
as it disappears into a dark O of a mouth.
She opens her wallet on the counter,
tucks the receipt in a rumpled wad
as a frown slips over her eyes, a helpless look,
like that of a dog ordered to sit as its owner suffers harm.
And if you had candles you’d light one right here,
here by this vault of a register, close the doors for a while.
Two youngsters wait their turn; they take her space
in front of you as she merges into the street.
They buy flat peaches, to take to eat in the sun.