Wednesday, August 24, 2005

She said go deep

She said to “go deep”
as she handed me a football
which I dropped then
while I wondered out loud
how and why these goal posts
were erected in our store
to which she said
that she refused to
take her work home
but it was simply wonderful
to bring home life to the job.
As usual, I shrugged
and answered the
phone in my best
late night
and found myself
speaking to
a woman who had a book
with a yellow cover
that reminded
her of the dress she wore
seven decades ago
on her first communion,
in the spring,
when flowers bloomed
and relatives started sneezing.
She paused and
then hung up the phone,
and as I put my end down
a kid from the neighborhood
was at the counter
asking me the price
of every book and
pencil in sight
in between segments from
his gasping saga
of buying a tombstone for an
uncle who once got funny with him
in a closet
two holidays ago.
the kid laughed nervously, fast,
breathless, as I said,
and ran out the door
onto the cracked, pricey sidewalk.
My coworker
was doing drum solos
with number 2 pencils
along the glass shelves
that displayed the
heaviest books in the store,
she smiled and riffed,
pinged, rim shot her
way out of a tight
rhythmic problem,
the phone rang again,
she tells me to
get that,
but I get nothing at all
except a headache,
looking up from the counter
after I pick up the receiver,
some middle aged guy
in an MC 5 t-shirt
holding a mounted moose head
over the cash register,
a long stretch of Bullwinkle
waiting to be kissed,
it’s all I can do
not to look up
from the small holes
in the receiver,
it’s still three hours till lunch.

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