One of our supermarkets hires workers
with developmental problems, maybe
from a program that trains and places them.
Anyway, it’s near my doctor’s office,
where I’d gotten news that wasn’t good,
though not dire. ”You probably don’t need
to worry for 20 years,” they said.
“But we’ll test every 6 months.”
The young woman bagging my groceries
worked slowly but with meticulous care.
She was very thin and also tiny.
Her reactions when spoken to were measured
and a beat late. When I said “Thank you”
as she finished, she said, as if rehearsed,
barely moving her lips so I could hardly hear:
“Have a nice day and enjoy the Fourth of July.”
I lost it in the parking lot. My eyes teared
and once inside the car, I sobbed. Who the hell was I
to feel sorry for myself? How did my long life—
a little success, stimulating journeys, many connections—
compare to hers? Who are the people in her life,
and what advantage have they taken?
What luck has she had? Please, I said to her
in my mind, have many nice days!