Monday, 5 March 2018

Store Manager 1980

by Charlotte Hamrick

You stalked me between the aisles, 

amongst the personal hygiene products            
and pain medications. I knew when you 

were creeping up by the squeak of your            
shoes. It was always at lunchtime, when            
the others were gone—an opportunity            

to grab my ass while I was dusting            

shelves. In the back room you'd pin me           
against the wall and lay your slobbery lips            
on mine, but it was your cold shaking            

hands that repulsed me more than            
your spit in my mouth. They told me             

you knew what you were doing was wrong 

but were determined to do it 
anyway. For three long years I dodged           
your clammy hands and stares,            

your brown eyes pleading like a starving dog.            
To this day I can't think of you without            
bile rising in my throat. But using your weakness,            

I bided my time until the power shifted            

and you were left with your hands            
between your legs.

* * * * *

Charlotte Hamrick’s poetry and prose has been published in numerous online and print journals, most recently including Muddy River Poetry Review, Eunoia Review, The Rumpus, and Literary Orphans. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the 15th Glass Woman Prize. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of rescued pets.