July 19, 2016 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

David Blackwell



Lianne Kamp



Checks and Balances at the Grocery Store



She sends the groceries waddling down the conveyer belt,

a constant parade of lemmings dropping off in a confused

and growing pile. Unfolding the reusable bags one by one


he carefully looks for structural weaknesses, forgotten receipts.

Inspector extraordinaire. Her eyes threaten to roll out of her head.

She grabs a bag, begins to clear out the advancing chaos of


someone else’s choices for breakfast cereal, cheese, for employees.

Talking over her sighs, he inquires after the dog whose food he slowly

settles into a bag before reaching again into the rolling chaos.


On this hot July day I know whatever he pulls from the heap will

lead him to thoughts of last year’s Thanksgiving as it did in January,

May, and in all the trips I’ve taken through his line. His sister in


New York will not be able to make it with the kids next time around.

The memorized excuses are meant to carry his disappointment.

He moves on to his weekly culinary tips centered around cookies and


soft drinks. I take in his news and commentaries as if for the first time,

confident that none of them will be coated in despair, colored in blood,

or ripped from the headlines. I want to thank him for not offering


another opinion or platitude on tragedies we can’t understand. I want

to tell him how these predictable moments remind me of what keeps

us all rooted together. I want to thank him for the slowness.


I want to thank him for not possessing the urge to knock the smirk

off the cashier’s smug face. Instead, I say what I say every week,

thanks Mark, have a great day.










Lianne Kamp

I came to Boston many years ago to write poetry.  Although I never abandoned poetry altogether, life had different plans for me. I have rediscovered the importance of writing and over the last year have been published in a number of Prolific Press journals. Mainly, I write poetry to make my world more panoramic by watching it more closely.


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