Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

notes on empathy and small kindnesses
with the liquor store clerk

by John Grochalski

he says, man,
you look like shit

kid, that’s why i come in here, i tell him

then i put the wine and whiskey up on the counter

how was work? he asks

three dozen kids screaming and destroying
and someone pissed all over the bathroom floor

i got it bad here too, he says
had to throw some drunk out for shitting himself

i’m on six days this week, i tell him

try doing seven

i’d murder someone with a dull knife

i want to, he says
bagging my bottles and taking my twenty
but what can you do?

we just can’t get it right, i tell him

and we seem like such smart guys, he says

we’re gods
only no one knows it yet

he gives me back fifty cents and i toss it in the tip jar

thanks, man, he says

the least i can do, i say

i take my bag
the kid has double bagged the booze for me
because last time i tripped and almost smashed everything

it means a lot to me that he remembered

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