Sometimes working in retail
feels like you’re selling tainted crack
For double price.
You and I both know you don’t need that top lady,
even if it will go with a skirt or pants.
It’s a top – that’s the idea.
But you’ll get it, because you need the hit.
Crave that cotton-elastine rush,
of a new garment to dress your hangers.
Other days, it’s the only job
Where a woman buys a hat, and as you ask if it’s a gift,
You see the water line in her eyes rise as she tells you yes, it is.
It’s for her sister,
who’s losing her hair.
Strand by strand of her femininity washed down the shower drain
from the chemo.
The nervous teenager, who thinks she’s a whale.
Tries on a dress,
and you get to run to the fitting rooms
to tell her she looks beautiful.
Stunning, in fact.
And watch the corners of her mouth bend ceilingwards
mesmerised by such a revelation.
As her hands, with trepedation, caress the fabric as though it would break,
taking beauty with it.
The dress could be torn apart by horses and dragged across the dirt though,
it’s not the garment, it’s the girl.
It’s overpriced, and no; “they,” don’t make them like they used to.
Because now “they,” are children in sweat shops,
somewhere in South-East Something.
It’s Western decadence and Capitalism confessed.
But every so often between two complete strangers,
over a counter,
The world cracks open.