Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Say Cheese Please

Hoop Cheese it is.
On sale two bucks off
with the card, only she didn’t ring
it up right the first time.
I paid full price so here I am at 8:03 a.m.
standing at the lottery and take-
back counter with my cheese.
The long aisles stretch clear to yellow
lights and hollow music
From time to time a sales associate
that’s what they are now
sales associates
glances at me like maybe
I’m waiting for a bus.
And I wait and she, the cashier of the moment
asks what I want.
The discount is what I want.
She has to call the cheese person, she says.
So I wait with my Hoop Cheese
at $5.15 that should be $3.15
for this middle aged woman to appear
with gauze cap and a question mark in her eyes.
It’s a very big sign I say.
I don’t understand why you don’t know.
We’re doing the best we can the cashier says
and I say not good enough.
So the woman with gauze hat walks off with my cheese
and I keep it up.
I say how come you don’t know what the hell
you’re selling and she says she’s just taking up space
and I say, I think that’s true.
We’re trying to help you she says and I’m about
to just cash in, when the gauze hat returns with the Hoop
Cheese and a label to stick on, which I think
is the discount, but by the time
they stop fiddling I’m sick
of the whole thing
the empty super market, the empty faces
the vegetables down the way
looking lonely as hell
and the Hoop cheese in the gauze hat’s hand
that I no longer want.

So I say just the refund please.
You mean you don’t want it?
No the refund, please.
And she says it again
“We’re just trying to help,”
as she slips the fiver and the change out
of the register into my hand
and I breathe a sigh.
I am so glad to be away from the death
of the place, the discounts on life,
the whole damn cheese.
Hoop or not.