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The person behind the counter - Swetha Amit

The grocery shop is packed with treasures

and I spy on the box of goodies

on the counter next to you

they look delicious and tempting

covered in chocolate with strawberry topping

but with you next to them

dare I touch one?

Paper or plastic, you ask

my fingers point to a paper bag

you pack my bread, cheese, and eggs

your fingers move fast

twelve dollars, you say

your face devoid of any expression

dare I ask why you don't smile?

It's always the same.

whenever I come in

morning, noon, or evening

How's it going? I ask

fifteen dollars, you reply

How's it going? I ask again

good. paper or plastic?

dare I ask what is wrong?

I stand there for a minute.

anything else I can help you with? you ask

I almost smile to hear you say something different

then you turn to the next customer

paper or plastic? dare I ask

do you ever say anything more?

Something meaningful, something inspirational

I shake my head

amazed at your dedication

puzzled at your disposition

marveling at your steadfastness

the same lines, the same action

dare I ask, do you ever get bored?


Author of ‘A Turbulent Mind-My journey to Ironman 70.3’, Swetha Amit is currently pursuing her MFA at University of San Francisco. She is one of the contest winners of Beyond words literary magazine, her piece upcoming in November. She published her works in Atticus Review, Oranges Journal, Gastropoda Lit, Amphora magazine, Grande Dame literary journal, Black Moon Magazine, Fauxmoir lit mag, and has upcoming pieces in Poets Choice anthology, Drunk Monkeys, Agapanthus Collective, and Full house literary. Also, alumni of Tin House Winter Workshop 2022 and the Kenyon Review Writers’ workshop 2022.


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