"Clean up in aisle 6"
Someone up in an office yells,
hidden from view,
like the Wizard of Oz.
Trudge from the register to aisle 6
to inspect the damage.
A clumsy customer has dropped
two of the biggest jars of spaghetti sauce in the store.
It looks like a crime scene,
or as if a small volcano of marinara sauce had formed.
I check my watch, five minutes left to my shift.
What perfect timing.
I go to the back, to the Green Monster-
boxes go into its mouth, the door closes,
it growls and hisses and squeals,
like an animal protecting territory,
and out comes a cardboard cube.
My hand goes into the gaping maw, ignoring the glaring safety signs around me
to steal food from the monster.
No time for caution when I was only five minutes
Grabbing a pack of paper towels on my back out,
I return to the scene of the crime and get to work.
Sloughing great dollops of sauce onto a torn off box flap
and into a paper bag.
Using something they'll never show in the training video,
I get a one hour job done in twenty minutes.
As I'm picking up the shrapnel, my finger catches on fire.
I look down and see blood streams from a fresh cut,
something in the sauce makes it burn like
acid, lava, the sun.
I go to the bathroom to wash the cut out,
checking to make sure I wouldn't be taking a glass memento with me.
Finally, I am done. I return to aisle 6, grab the evidence bag,
and throw it into the garbage bag out back.
I walk back to the front of the store
and slide my card through the ancient time clock.
The things I do for minimum wage.