Mar 142012

by Lowell Jaeger


The wooden floors creaked

as the stock manager lumbered up the aisle

under his armload of boxed merchandise.


Lousy whore,

he hissed at the lady in cosmetics,

stacking what he’d stashed

at her feet and dashed away. His neck

ablaze, his starched collar blotched with sweat.


I’d overheard from the aisle nearby,

a boy who loitered, enchanted

by the scent of her, ensnared by the ribbons

bannered in her hair.


When our eyes met, I flinched. Her gaze

blinked and shot past.

She swallowed hard, lifted a box and slid

behind the glass defenses of her station,

feigning nonchalance

amidst perfumes and plasters. Her lipsticks

like gold bullets in their racks.