“The Person Seated Across the Aisle” by Kelsey May

I just wanted a migraine pill and a cup of cocoa.
Instead, I overheard someone talking about the liquor store about ten blocks from my house.
“Don’t even bother,” he said.
“It’s so overpriced.”
Inside, I nodded, never having been in the store,
just aware of how things in our neighborhood were often overpriced,
how the closest superstore was a good five miles away, a two hour round trip by bus,
how I probably should have made the trip three days previous since grilled cheese was
getting fairly tiring …
The kid’s tone changed:
“Plus, the cashier was missing like eight teeth.”
The curly-haired girl seated next to him giggled.
The bus turned a corner.
I leaned forward in my worn seat.
“I’m not supporting crack addicts with my money!”
A grimace tightened its grip on my features,
but my mouth stayed shut, like a bus door. Like a brand new bottle of gin.

Kelsey May is a poet from Michigan and Washington, D.C. She enjoys wearing overalls and ice skating. Her work has also appeared in The Maine Review, Voices, and Mouse Tales Press and is forthcoming in Be About It. She is also a member of the poetry collective the Diatribe, and works with students and adults using poetry as a means for healing, understanding, and sharing personal stories.

Image: “The Arrival” by Victoria Johnston

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