These are just words.

The Clerk

The clerk accepted the item offered him
with a smile and a bob of his head,
the gestures having descended long since
into automatic, nearly mechanic movements.
He had worked at that very same store
forever it seemed, both to him and his faithful
array of regular customers, who would abandon
their allegiance in the matter of moments
if they chanced upon a store offering the same
merchandise for a marginally lower price.

Informing the old lady in a foggy mumble
that indeed, the toilet paper had risen
in price since last year, and no Madame,
there was naught a simple clerk could do
to change these matters; he appeared
the very symbol of patience. The lady tucked
her newly acquired bottom tissues
into a crumpled plastic bag which she had saved
from her last visit. Some stores would actually
demand payment for such items. The nerve!
Her cane in one hand, the bag o' goods
in her other, she humped off in that stately,
albeit pitiful manner only ancient ladies have,
stopping for a dignified moment to inspect
a trash can for any sign of hidden treasure.

"Thank you, Madame,
do come again!"

Poetry by Thomas Selnes The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 1353 times
Written on 2006-11-24 at 20:49

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liz munro The PoetBay support member heart!
The way you end this just
makes you laugh.

I work in a supermarket myself and
know those tpye of customer's where
you just want to throttle them but instead
tell them to have a nice day.

Love the whole piece.


Words, as you state: a piece of (short) prose. Again, well written, Clerk!
Even tho' they talked about prices rising and dropping back then, I'm not sure of the after-the-fact, as in 'risen'. Ask Nepenthes, he'd know. :-)


David Hazell
Wickedly clever. you really have the measure of that Clerk.

Chris Fernie
Dear Thomas,

Your just words are fine words; this is mature poem from a confident voice.

Cheers, Chris