After hours spent calling out, Next, please, fluorescent light paling their skin and making eyes water, at the end of their shift they go home to their quiet home, pet the big, gentle dog who greets them at the door, hang up their jacket and the handmade scarf that was their favorite gift, curl up in a chair with a borrowed book and a mug of tea—only heated water, only leaves and herbs, and by soft candlelight stretch into themselves, thankful, thankful, to not be who they served all day, those sad and desperate, ravenous shoppers with their naked needs.
Tag Archives: shopping poem
This is how it’s done:
The children must be
stuffed into snowsuits, overheated,
dragged car to store to car to another store
until they learn to beg
for one more shiny thing,
one more bit of brightly colored plastic.
Some get there quickly. Other, stoic, stubborn children,
determined to daydream about dressing up the cat
or building forts from empty boxes
and ripped wrapping paper—these children take longer.
But they are, after all, only children—
in the end, each one succumbs
to heat and hunger and greed.
Then finally, finally, a grownup can take them
home again. Sighing over how spoiled
the children have become,
an adult can carry them home to
the naps and quiet they both needed