I saw a man in an ironed shirt
and he smiled at me, hurried.
I knew this was just another way
of saying “good morning”
without straining those cords
he’d probably put to work
in the face of stubborn brick walls.
In his hand, a Ziploc pouch
filled with two fat sandwiches.
That day, I tasted the compromise
between grape and strawberry jam
based upon how they danced
with the incredible Mister Peanut
before heading off to war.
I did not smile, for I’d be late
when time already denied.
A boy skipping school in the cereal aisle
told to “ask her!” by an impatient friend
tapping a foot against wobbling legs
of a barstool carefully situated
near Kodak photos in arrested development.
He winked as he surfed on the shopping cart
and my mouth opened with its corners upturned.
Kristine Brown is a freelance writer and editor whose first poetry collection, Scraped Knees, was released by Ugly Sapling in early 2017. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, Inflight Literary Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, Rambutan Literary, Forage Poetry, among other publications. She amuses herself with experimental milkshakes and blogs at https://crumpledpapercranes.com.