I had been seeing her eight or nine years, at least,
seen her go from packer
to checkout operator
to acting charge.
Supermarket staff, high school here : university gone,
but she had stayed.
flat hair, hunched shoulders, dragged feet
eyes away and down
glumly rectifying prices, approving alcohol, checking refunds.
Still there was a devout honesty,
unfailingly upheld :
No counterfeit cheer
no approximation of smile
no insincere enquiry.
Nothing reached her eyes.
I could never quite remember why I had gone that way
and what encircled attention.
Perhaps it was the light
lace sunshine in riverside trees
and shining from the eyes of a mother
playing with her child. She looked so different.