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!



One comment

  1. Thanks, Lew, for that prospective.
    I hope your challenge remains off in the distance.

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