working at wal-mart :: brandon kreitler

The checkout girls don’t give it up so easy anymore
and seem to be growing in their sense that this place,
despite its efforts, is not sequestered and free of consequence.
I stand only to lose from such revelations,

but going to the indoor McDonald’s still counts
as going somewhere else and I get the sense that Ginny,
the greeter, thinks I’m one of her dozen grandchildren.
I wouldn’t tell her otherwise.

I’ve tried every delight offered and have boxes to show for it.
My floating walks have become aimless. Yesterday I saw a man
lying prostrate in Electronics before a bank of TV screens
on which the populace yearns to be singers.

In these moments it’s hard not to feel good about what we offer people,
an unbroken chain of indistinguishable days and nights.
An unassuming totalness of things. The easing of the sense that out there
America means having your heart broken by your heart…

Someone has gotten control of the loudspeaker and it squeals.
The thin filament of music is gone.
A baby left for a moment in the center aisle
cries like small animal alone in the pale floodlight.

In the pall of that hunger forbidden language
I feel again the soft husk of my body.
And everyone is kind of looking around,
half surprised by shadow.