By Request

Posted on August 30, 2012. Filed under: Cancer | Tags: , , , |

A number of people have asked for the poem I wrote and read on Sunday. Here it is…

Next in Line
A True Story

The almost-boy at the register
in a red T-shirt with a bull’s eye
logo across his heart
pulls the diapers, batman pajamas
and hand sanitizer across the scanner
while the toddler in the cart grunts
and points for his new pacifier.

Next in line, a man in army fatigues
does not buy anything
does not return anything.
He wants to shoplift the almost-boy
in the red T-shirt with the bull’s eye,
who must ask a supervisor
to check out wine bottles,
but knows the difference
between video games and military maneuvers.

The recruiter bends over
the counter stiff and angled
presents an offer as if selling meth.
The almost-boy tells him
he makes enough money—for now.
In response, he’s told to think of his future.
The almost-boy says he is
planning for college
adds “Thanks, anyway.”
The man in fatigues spins
on his boot heel and marches out.

The almost-boy asks me to please wait
nods to a man in blue at the door
a badge on his heart
his hands on his hips.
The almost boy asks,
“Hey, if I’m to report solicitors,
do recruiters count?”

Security bolts through the exits
toward the Jeep in fatigues
idle in the no-stopping lane.

The almost-boy turns to me and asks,
“Did you find everything?
I lie , say “yes” and wonder
if the lines will ever end
if we’ll stop the need
for protection from protection
how many will check out
before there is peace in aisle six.


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    A writer and cancer survivor chronicles her renewed dedication to art and words..


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