Once a part of color-coordinated commerce
cotton tees dotted on name tagged worker bees,
who’d better smile convincingly.
A guy who always tucked his shirt in, was the only one
who smiled like he meant it, was Reese,
a veteran 10-year grocer
red-head who grinned like a great ape.
In his early-30’s, he still had the vocal squeak
of a 15-year-old’s sneakers
Other than our corresponding employer,
I only knew Reese the Grocer because I’d
weekly buy condoms from his register.
Always, he’d smile and say, “Hey man!” and habitually
slide the box of latex and its cartoon instructions
over the register’s red laser light show.
Then I’d be off our employer’s clock
doing what bed sheets and back seats know what.
On Christmas Eve, it was aggravatingly busy
because the asshole who’s name tag said Reese
was a “No call, no show.”
That day, all kids and grocery drones
were angry at a rumored dead man,
Reese the Grocer.
Some said it was suicide, surely it wasn’t.
He had always been the victim of such