When I worked for a week
As a salesman at a bookstore,
I learned that it’s best to place
The stools in the poetry section.
It’s the lower half of the corner
Between romances and cookbooks,
Between fiction and non-fiction:
A ‘tweener no one cares about.
So, if it’s hidden behind a bent back
No one really misses it.
This is the only way to get people
To pass their eyes over the poetry,
While they shift on the cushion
Looking for that perfect comfort
They know they won’t get here.
The product just doesn’t move.
So, you don’t worry about reshelving.
And you don’t stand awkwardly
Waiting for the arthritic lady to get up,
After her son comes, shakes his head,
Says they should’ve ordered online.
You don’t really mind the kids
Sticking their chewing gum
Between two poetry books
Where no one will find out.
Poems are supposed to stick, right?
The manager doesn’t notice
When you sit down to override
The barcode and slip the book
Into your bag and out of the shop.
You always have time to return
If your conscience is such a fattu.
You get to quote a verse or two
To the curly cutie with glasses.
And reach your arm across her
To gently pull on a slender spine
Just behind her right ear.