So you stand there
Hands cradling the dripping
Chunk of meat as the big-haired housewife looks down her nose
At your high-water black jeans, faded rose polo, and orange socks
"Fuck no, I'm not double wrapping it for you."
And you don't wipe down the belt after
Sending her raw dinner on
To the sacker. Even though you know
The boss gets red faced
About that sort of breach in cashier courtesy
And you'll probably get lectured about store cleanliness
And customer satisfaction when you go on break. And it feels really good
To smile big and chirp
About the weather and coupons
While you watch her carrot sticks and Snickers bar
Moving on down the belt
In a smear of blood.
And even though your hands are now rusty red and sticky
And the blood is drying,
sealing your fingers together,
You only glance at the bottle of hand sanitizer that you hid
Behind the credit card machine.
You don't pick it up
Or wash off your hands, even though you can feel the tingle
Of E-coli germs digging their way into your skin
And you know you won't be able to eat dinner again tonight and that your job
Is turning you into a hypochondriac
At only sixteen
And you long for the days when you only worried about the ink stains
From your Calculus text book
And never felt like an uneducated dropout because you sell
Your neighbors their groceries
And you really want the meat lady to leave and to maybe
Die from E-coli in her not-double-wrapped meat.
And you watch the blood dry into your fingerprints
And you think:
"I am not the butcher."