I saw reflected in double glass doors an edgy male
hiding an 18 oz. cool one in his chocolate faux-leather jacket
while the other guy put another in his frayed green
backpack, then re-shelved it in favor of a 6-pack
of long necks he blithely carried toward the cashier
then past him through the front door as if invisible,
except for that magenta chain link tattoo on his bulky forearm.
The height marker taped to the door frame clocked him
at 5’9 or 10. His partner fell in behind him, slumping over
a pinched Doritos bag as if it were a small flame
that mustn’t go out. He shivered from the cold
next to his skin. Two tense men. Same height, weight,
frame. I spotted a bear-trap scar on one bare ankle
then heard a wispy whistle through what must have been
a chipped tooth. Identical sneakers --black with yellow
chalk line trim. The slower man cocked his large flat ear
like a satellite dish. I watched all this from behind
the revolving jerky display lest a stray bullet fly
through paper supplies and pierce my carotid artery
or quaking thigh. I saw blood splatter all over their lot,
chips flying, beer dribbling on lace-less sneakers.
A second blink. Asphalt spotless. The clerk chose
not to respond. Or he chose to simply not see.
I still do, see their elastic gait, disinterest, even, as if
playing roles on movie sets. As if the script could be
rewritten. As if the first of many takes.
Margo Davis’s poems have appeared in Light: A Journal of Photography & Poetry, Ekphrastic Review, Wisconsin Review, Midwest Quarterly, Slipstream, Agave Magazine, and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. Forthcoming ones are to appear in Civilized Beasts, Vine Leaves Literary, Main Street Rag Anthology and Echoes Off a Canyon Wall. Margo says she thrives on closely observing others, film, photographs, and natural settings.