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Confessions of a Cashier

By Kayla Joy Friedland


between the buzzing and beeping

and sweet potatoes rolling

beyond the carpet and to your feet

where you greet me with squiggly lines

for eyebrows that look like

your undercooked toddler

took a sharpie to your forehead

I try to look behind the empty eyes

of paying customers who are supposed to mean nothing

to me

but queen elizabeth on green plastic

and some canadian bird on a donation that could’ve been

you sigh and tell me you’ve already given

money to a cause that runs on a constant influx

of the public’s hard earned cash

you smile, I smile back

a papercut on my thumb as i hand you your ticket

out of the beeps and buzzing

and painfully

bright artificial constellations

and i wonder about you

and why you think one donation is enough

and if donations are a form of self gratification?

or if i’m just too generous,

or not generous at all,

maybe i’m pretentious

maybe i deserve a nobel prize

maybe i deserve less than 13.50 an hour

maybe the earth is dying and you spent

$1 on plastic bags,

or did you?

because i didn’t charge you

but you didn’t notice

you were too busy scraping your wallet of

a facade of


and the human condition that never fails to go stale


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