9 to 5 Poetry Project, Poem 8: Random Acts

Hello, internet people! After a lovely weekend off with my boyfriend, I’m back and ready for some 9 to 5 poetry!

Tonight’s poem is sliding in late because I worked the closing shift tonight, so I just got home, so it’s really more of a 5:15-9:45 poem tonight. I thought, when I first got there, that my poem was going to be an angry rant because closing is horrible, but as it turns out the customers were actually pretty cool tonight, so I bring you something positive instead.

So, as Fall Out Boy reminded me to ask on my way home, “Are you ready for another bad poem?”

Random Acts

The woman at register two has a Down Syndrome son,
Who watches with suspicion as I bag their items,
Perhaps not trusting my care with his new clothes,
Or my smile, from which I try to banish the instinct
Towards sympathy. His mother and I discuss the weather,
That ever present topic. Rain drums across the roof,
A sudden torrent that might—just might—deter customers.

The two of them wait by the doors, watching the rain
Pour down. He shifts his feet, half afraid and half impatient,
Ready, like any son dragged along, to be anywhere but TJ Maxx.
The next customer buys a four by five piece of art, multicolored
Paint spread across a canvas. We wrap it up in two trash bags,
Meant to save it from the rain. It’s almost larger than she is,
A woman shopping on her own, and she stares out the window,
Unsure how she and the painting will make it to her car unscathed.

“We can hang on to it while you go get your car,” says the mother,
Her son still rocking on his feet, hoping to get outside.
One of each of their hands rest on the plastic of the painting,
While the woman they’ve never met retrieves her car.

Note: This poem pretty much describes the exact moment that inspired it. I saw a stranger randomly offer to help another stranger, and it just so happened she had her son with her, who had Down Syndrome. It made for a nice little moment of “hey, people actually don’t always suck” during the work day, which is something you don’t get much in retail.

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