Cashier in a Produce Store (1990)


We could have met while warming
adjacent barstools, each trying to ignore
the whiskey-soaked love songs another
patron keeps paying the jukebox for.

We could have sat there, intent for hours
on our respective ice cubes and sore hearts
until last call. And then, you could have
noticed how I said goodnight to

my old friend, the bartender, maybe liked
the way I winked as I turned to go. Or,
we could have met at a concert on
the water’s edge in May, just two fans

in a crowd of thousands screaming for
an encore. Our forearms could’ve brushed
and we might have grinned at one another
while the thousands bawled lyrics

and played air guitar. Or, we could
have cleaned up our acts and stayed
in school, met in the library as university
bells rang out. You would have been

the handsome athlete needing a little help
with Shakespeare, and me, well, I would’ve
been the curvy nerd bowing down between
shelves of the classics. Or, it could be we met

just the way we should have on that cold
morning in March. One thing’s for certain:

I’ll never forget that produce store.

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