March 10, 2009

The bag boy

by Josh Olsen

The bag boy
was a tall skinny white man
with a thin greasy pony tail
and prison tattoos.

He handled my groceries with care,
placing each item
in its own individual plastic bag
before laying them together
into a larger paper bag.

Wasteful, I thought,
but it must have been a source of pride,
compared to the other bag boys,
who mindlessly stuffed
to the brink of hemorrhage.

I wanted to ask him
what he was doing there,
how he ended up
at the end of lane 5.

Was it a second chance?

But I was positive
the answers I imagined
were far more romantic
than the truth.

So, I kept to myself.

"God bless you, brother," he said
as he handed me my load,
then turned his attention
to the next customer in line.


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