poetry by STELLA NESANOVICH
Her sobs slice the dome of calm
customers assume when shopping, their arms full
of notebooks, pens, and school supplies.
Her wails echo throughout, surmount
the piped music, the intercom voice
paging an employee. Even the management
seems immune to the chaos and grief
her cries reveal: the greeter directs
me to neatly stacked shelves of toner,
another clerk hands me the model I seek
to continue copying my poems,
their ordered landscapes of words.
I scan the store, tell myself perhaps
someone has just learned of a death,
suffered a loss, and failed to silence
the intercom system, for everyone
here remains tranquil,
fielding customers’ questions.
Only the cashier tells me
the woman comes weekly,
that no one asks nor knows the cause
of her agony, although her sighs are biblical:
Rachel weeping for her children,
a haunting pain, a life broken
amid wrapped pads, crisp paper,
pencils cellophane-clad by the dozen.