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February 26, 2024

To A Convenience Store Clerk

By Dan Mulhollen

To a Convenience Store Clerk

early spring,
and a short walk for groceries.
You're there standing behind the counter,
smiling as I approach.
Between the scanner beeps,
your soft voice draws me into conversation.

No names, no pasts
almost no world exists beyond the automatic door.
How little I knew about your life,
save for the inconvenient years;
The generation separating our horizons.
And, despite my usual reluctance for conversation,
I opened up,
hoping we'd share a little of each others' reality.

Weeks pass.
or at least romantic optimism,
fantasies of "what if."
But most of all,
your smile and your words,
lightening my steps as I walk home.

Then one hot, muggy morning
I walk inside and you're gone;
not exactly a place for long-term employment.
Although we were still strangers,
I walked home with slower steps
Feeling I'd lost a friend.
And maybe the realities were too much
for anything beyond infatuation.
Maybe your life did not have room
for a customer becoming a friend.
But something has gone,
A few lovely weeks come to an end,
And I will miss you.

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2011-06-20
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