Poem: Living over the Store

 

By: Andrew Hubbard

People shopping at the supermarket

Well, it’s convenient, no commuting
And cheap, our living space
Is storage as far as the taxman knows.

 

We sell everything. You want gloves?
We got ‘em. Lipstick, hairspray, tampons?
Yup. University sweatshirts? Shovels?
Pencils? Flower pots? Panties? Baby wipes?
No problem.

Where does the stuff all come from?
That’s the only thing he’s secretive about.
Sometimes he helps unload a truck
In the middle of the night.
That’s all I know
And more than I want to know.

He’s a smart man, finished college
And quick with a one-liner. He says,
“We don’t own the store
The store owns us.” And he gets
A bitter look when he says it.

He’s offered to marry me
But I’ve got my pride.

That doesn’t sound like sense.

But when he said it, the words
Came dragging out of him
Like each one hurt, and I expect they did.
I expect it was some dug-deep
Sense of duty, and on top of that
I expect his mother yelled at him.

In the meantime our little kids
Ride tricycles up and down the aisles
And play hide and seek in the stock room.

What kind of life is that?
The women I’m friends with
Or I should say want to be friends with,
Their kids have yards
And real houses to play in.

I want that badly,
Somehow it’s about respect.
It’s about the way
The women look at me,
I mean the way
They don’t look at me
As they pick over
Scarves and socks.

When I talk to him about it
I say it’s for the kids
But that’s a little lie.
It’s for me.
I want the respect.
I want dignity.

 

 

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