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267th Weekly Poetry Contest winner: Purchase

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.

See all the entrants to 267th Weekly Poetry Contest