Stand in line


Grocery store, food is
chosen carefully, looking
for line made for ten items
Maybe even less

No such line, only one
is open. Enter with worry
and trepidation, twelve people
have come here first

Standing, waiting, mind
is wandering. Looking at
magazines. Everyone is
divorced or pregnant

Handful are married,
drunk at parties, drugs
Candy begging to be
bought, so very bored

The cart is square,
silver, wire meshed
holds my goods with
care, on wheels of metal

Soft plastic handle I
caress, red and white
words that say its name
Watch my flowers wilt

Bustle, bump and oranges
spill, someone's child cries
Man says harsh words, swear
different child repeats them

Line is getting longer,
Yet, still I'm at the end
Checkout girl is new and,
slow as molasses in January

It's cold in January
molasses rolls up hill
Distraction, my spot in
line is taken by a fool

I nudge her, she glares,
her hair in wild disarray
She looks like she could
kill, I back off, smiling

She looks at me, about to
swear, line moves forward
She follows desperate, afraid
her spot in life is taken

Bumps man's heels ahead
He turns to give sweaty
glare, shiny head glints
in false florescent light

Line moves slowly
Checkout girl bogged
down, finally my turn
it commeth! Torture finite

Place flowers on black
belt, milk, juice, all
of the daily perishables
then canned I set behind

Price check. On milk.
She could scan anyone's
in line, but she is young,
afraid, and so I let it go

Finally, my price comes
up on silver gelled screen
Three hundred dollars too
much, she forgot a button

I sigh, she scans again
People in line shift weight
Left, then right, then left again
Finally I can pay her

Three thousand eighty two
hard earned pennies to escape
this hellish hole, dash off to
cheap car, deposit brown bag

Open rusting door, sit on
faux something seat, grab long
belt stretching to buckle in
Finally safe from certain death

Turn the worn key, rev
No start, turn, rev, once
again no start, head slams
into steering wheel, joy

Nice man offers a jump
I accept ungraciously
Car gets going, finally
Drive out of unstriped lot

Drive home, stuck in
traffic, turn music up
too loud, get the finger,
forty-seven times or more

Ambulance, pull over
Police follow close behind
Finally get going, then
a train rolls by as well

Red light, red light, red light
Finally arrive at sanctuary
Get in up long flight
of crooked bent up stairs

Put groceries away in
dirty grimy fridge
Take flowers out, into
a vase they are placed

Look at flowers, wilted
though they are, they are
pretty, light up my sad
forgotten studio room

I forgot cereal, forgot
tomatoes, potatoes and
lots of other things, too, S'okay
The thing I needed was milk

Sit down to frozen dinner
Watch old black and white
movies, slap stick comedy
It's hilarious, sometimes

Finish fried lo mien, bleh
can still taste microwaves
Watch Larry, Mo, Curly,
One of them gets whacked

Place black tray on floor,
I'm tired, but lazy, I curl
up on lumpy couch
Asleep in twelve seconds