Just Like Everyone Else

What is normal?

Sharing a pillow with your cat.

Walking barefoot to school.

Eating hamsters roasted on a stick.

Buying jewelry for your guest.

Eating peanuts in a restaurant and throwing the shells on the floor.

Watching a movie at a drive-in theater.

Kissing on the first date.

Square dancing on Saturday night.

Eating a turkey dinner for Christmas.

Having a picnic at a cemetary.

Being taken to school on the back of a horse.

Giving someone a standing ovation.

What is normal for you?

Self Punishment

I patted the earth

As lovingly as one could with the huge shovel of the excavator.

I shut off the rumbling motor.

My bones rattled on, no longer able to work but not quite able to rest either.

I was finished.

I had now buried everyone I knew,

And some I didn’t.

No stones marked the graves.

What for? There was no one left to read them.

No tears washed my face.

Crying was a luxury for those who would be comforted.

I was too tired to comfort myself.

I closed the door to the shed where I had parked the excavator

And almost laughed as I observed myself lock it.

But old habits are hard to break,

Like living.

I had warned them about the carriers,

Alarmed as they dropped off one by one.

I never warned them about me.

To say I didn’t know is no excuse.

I didn’t want to know.

I never tried to know.

Even when I did know.

Now I have been convicted to live.

Two other carriers help each other join their friends.

I cannot. I must serve my sentence.

I slowly returned to the shed that serve as my lodging.

I went inside

And locked the door.

The Cashier’s Order

Ten after eight, so late that day.

I grabbed a coffee and rushed to pay.

When the cashier who was always there

Gave a scream and pulled her hair.

“What’s this?” she hissed behind my cup.

“The presidents must all look up!

I’m sorry. You will have to wait.”

“But please! I’m running very late!

It’s just a coffee, ring it in

I’ll put the money in the tin.”

“No you won’t!” the cashier cried.

And even though I tried to hide

The fury boiling in my brain,

The effort caused me so much strain,

My hand reached out of its own will

To pour the coffee in her till.

But my arm bumped hard against a shelf,

I poured the coffee all over myself.

Silence engulfed the small café.

Witnesses found no words to say.

Then the cashier’s eyes looked into mine

So full of mirth, they seemed to shine.

The corners of my mouth turned up

When I saw the empty coffee cup.

Loud laughter bubbled out of me.

The cashier chuckled too in glee.

We laughed and laughed, it had no end.

The cashier had become my friend.