about time

A mistake 

brought me to the grocery store

at dawn's break.

Newsreels, infection rates,

ICU lineups and long waits

meant that online purchases ain't efficient anymore.

Delays were imminent.

But I hadn't noticed any of it.

My virtual cart could be picked up a week from now,

but we were out of milk somehow.

So that guy seems real upset pacing up and down

the sidewalk, shaking his head, making me anxious-

posing in front of the exit, waving his arms like hailing a cab,

and spitting mad.

Barking to no one and everyone in line,

his muttering distractions made eyes look to mine.

The guy steps in close- litigates and reiterates-

'guess 8

o'clock doesn't mean what it used to be.'

My watch showed 8:03.

And i could see

inside the store, employees stacked, cleaned, and chopped.

While outside, a small clutch of early risers wonders about when they can shop.

8:05, the door opens.

A teenage gatekeeper struggles to smile and says 'cmon in'.

As the line files through,

some offer clever counsel at the indifferent interloper who

listens patiently to

the grumbles of 'next time' and 'my time' and 'wasted time'.

Those chronic rhymes

are a clear sign

that time

really is not what it should be.

But the thing about time

is that you have to stall on a fine line

and that essence

to feel any ownership of the current tense,

means noticing that as the staff member scrolls backwards, i stroll forward fast

into my present and by then i am already in her past.

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