Bored & Dying While Working Self-Checkout

Keira Armstrong

The steady beep of people checking out 
does little but stroke my want to leave
With a crinkly, plastic fist.

The clean, sharp lines of the shelved warehouse 
resemble a very large, mildly clean jail.

I would know,
this bureaucrat-sunken place is
the only place that’ll take felons.

To my left, prison gray walls turn into the face of a pale woman.
She’s angry about the flickering lights on aisle 6.
I tell her “That’s where we keep the all the broken things”
I remember my ‘ma’am’s’ and drift behind the plexiglass barrier.

I imagine the woman yelling at me is spitting out fire.
I imagine my gum, found in aisle 5,
is in my tongue.
I imagine we are all dying.
And this is so much more exciting.