Max Heinegg

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The cashier calls the bagger Rose,
but her tag reads Suze. You look
like a Rose. My mother's name
I could say. But my mother's white,
so I say nothing. Women like this don't
apologize, & one makes assumptions

in the absence of an apology, Suze is quiet,
so I just say thanks. I don't know how
to pronounce it. She's as old as my grandmother was
when she died. My grandfather telling me
from his living room chair that he was still in love with her.

I’m hoping Suze’s working to stay vital,
but probably not. I wonder if the store provides
health insurance. I doubt. But here she is
helping me pack up. It’s her job to
be decent, I think. We’re what we have to be.

I rush a bit, already thinking about the fire
my wife has made, the game coming on.
Driving away, about to take my right,
I see her standing by the curb. Waving,
holding a bag I’d left.