and there’s the bag boy in his hoodie
and yellow safety vest again riding

a silver train of eight shopping carts
stacked into each other shuddering

across the salted asphalt parking lot,
his gloved hands grasping the last

handle as he stands on the bar
over the wheels, leans in and rides

them hard through the automatic
doors of the nearly-empty Food Lion

with some glee or abandon, the clatter
is night-driven the clatter is no one

can see him except all of us pulling up
past the plastic sheeting to keep the wreaths

and trees-for-sale from weather it’s late
december and snowing the carts nest

within each other to facilitate collection
are able to carry a child though i am not

though twenty four thousand children
are injured each year in shopping carts

and none of us hear a sound except
i want i want i want

 

 

 

meitnerErika Meitner is the author, most recently, of Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls (Anhinga Press, 2011) and Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner. Her fourth book, Copia, is forthcoming in the fall of 2014 from BOA Editions.  She is currently an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the MFA program.

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