March 14, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Joan McNerney



Grocery Cashier



After punching in, she opens her

register, counts bills and splits

up rolls of coins. Her arms ache

from yesterday. From pulling together

store items, piling them in bags.


Another day in this dismal place.

Saccharine MUSAC, dim lights

dreary corridors, dingy floors.

No clock, no water fountain,

no public restroom. Aisles stocked

with cans, boxes, frozen foods.


Pushing carts full of packaged meat,

donuts, cases of beer…customers

creep up in line. Trance-like they

press forward with crinkled coupons,

handing out cash or swiping cards.


A camera is poised on her.

Registers are monitored and

the number of sales counted.

Making sure nothing slips by,

“The Man” is always watching.







Word Processor



Margie often thought words

just spilled through her fingers.

It was all learned so long ago

by touch typing in school.


Then she was thrilled by winning

an over ninety-words-a- minute

prize. Margie was sure to

transcribe important documents.


But today she finished the form letter.

Now what must be noted is paragraph

three be included with addressee list five.


Section seven contains financial

disclosure which only went to top list

number one. Someone would check it.


Technological advances had replaced

people. Equipment never felt sick or

required holidays, vacations, breaks.

Much more cost effective.


Margie wanted to close her eyes

against this flood of words. Shut

her ears against the pounding of

machines, sighs of other operators.









Joan McNerney

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon, Blueline, Poppy Road Review, Spectrum, three Bright Hills Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.


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