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midnight safeway run
Sequiturist

standing in line
 1
at number 10, the only open register
 2
in the menlo park safeway
 3
 
 
a foot past midnight
 4
women shelving & stocking along the aisles
 5
 
 
me cradling cheap store-brand fig bars
 6
multi-grain crackers &
 7
two airbags of some fancy herb-flavored potato chips
 8
 
 
on sale for $2.69 each
 9
& keeping to myself
 10
 
 
when i heard the guy behind me
 11
mid-30’s with the most dimpled chin
 12
I have ever seen under afternoon shadows
 13
 
 
asking if he can get ahead
 14
words slurring & slushing like a wet mop in the snow
 15
 
 
says that his wife is sick & doesn’t think
 16
he has ever touched a living person
 17
so hot
 18
 
 
almost crying
 19
though he seemed like a proud man
 20
(& I guess that's love)
 21
 
 
the tremor from not-knowing (or buying time)
 22
& resorting to blind hope
 23
in his voice
 24
giving this quiet roadside joint more life
 25
than a weekend afternoon
 26
 
 
his grip
 27
on the electric thermometer & acetaminophen
 28
so hard that the packagings warped
 29
 
 
I said “yeah go ahead”
 30
too fast & too many times to come off as caring
 31
(although I did, I really did)
 32
 
 
but he was already at the freezer
 33
grabbing a 20lb bag of ice
 34
& running back to the register
 35
 
 
then looking back at me
 36
to say thank you
 37
the way you would to someone
 38
who just saved your wife from brain damage or seizures
 39
 
 
& maybe I did
 40
maybe the minute I gave him could have made
 41
some difference
 42
 
 
though I'd prefer it not
 43
that is too much power
 44
for a living over another living:
 45
 
 
one buying junk food as if sleeping pills
 46
one waiting with hopefully a pillow beneath her head
 47
equally helpless
 48
 
 
another minute went by
 49
& he left
 50
looking back with one last thank you—
 51
another two seconds
 52
 
 
time
 53
what is it to the package haulers at this graveyard hour
 54
to that sick scarlet woman
 55
 
 
an endless night to wake up for
 56
& maybe a minute to wake up in.
 57

28 Jul 11

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Comments:

the menlo park safeway closes at 11 pm

brought to you by the committee for "keeping art . . . real"
 — Clara

uhhhh, no it does not.

brought to you by the committee for "letting actual residents tell the story"

p.s. if you are simply misinformed, then I apologize for the snide remark above. However, please refrain from insulting my writing, especially if it is based on something that I KNOW to be false (...because I was at the store a few hours ago...)
 — Sequiturist

Clara, being rude and arrogant isn't keeping anything real.
 — unknown

nice seq.
L49 reads a bit off though. did you mean 'sleeping pills?'
 — mandolyn

@mandolyn, thanks and yes. you're a pleasant critic as always. :)
 — Sequiturist

god dude anal or what?

it was a drive by vermouth kind of night last night.

but now that you mention it rather petulantly . . . ahem . .

i wasnt insulting your poem. that is your misguided interpretation of my comment.

are you insecure?

LOL

yah i was at the store also. menlo park. cali?



Sorry you took offense. no offense meant


Sleepwalking Sleeptalkin Clara
 — unknown

I love the ending.
 — unknown

powerful. kudos for capturing the beauty of the ordinary.
 — unknown

I haven't been to the store since I was a kid. But I love the compassionate young spirit in this! I lived this story over & over ( too many times)--the story of encountering someone in the public, who always has a story if they want something out of you. I've become too jaded. Thanks for a refreshing look at these people.
 — Seditswing

Thanks, Seditswing. Moments like these remind me of just how much beauty and love we have in this world. :)
 — Sequiturist

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