Morning Shift at the Liquor Store

by Adam Valentine

I’m pushing a cartful of box
wine, drinking a root beer,
and I think the guy working
with me must be saying:
what are you dreaming?
So I ask him not to worry
about it.  The manager’s
coming in through the back
door.  His raincoat echoes
all over the warehouse
like somebody unfolding
a tarp.  Suzy turns up the radio
and says: why is it on a Blues
station?  She says that bitch
who got fired never did what
she was told to in the first
place, but you can’t say
anything to Suzy or anybody
else if she’s around.  Two
Arbor Mist bottles scrape
across each other and sound
like somebody pulling
out a sword in the movies.
A customer says it’s bad
how he always talks
to himself when he’s picking
out his beer for the night,
but I tell him I was listening.