It doesn’t seem strange at first
that the state store clerk
grabs a pint of my brand
before I’ve even asked for it,
doesn’t ask me for proof of age,
makes no small talk about the holidays,
just takes the cash or card I’m handing her,
puts the bottle in the brown bag,
then in plastic,
like I’d want her to.
Before I’m handed what I want,
I realize now it’s the same lady
who got me a pint this morning.
It dawns on me then and there
that I wasted an hour preparing
a sober-looking walk,
a few subjects for chit-chat,
and a different outfit for round two.
I’m remembering the sign on the door
which reads: If you appear intoxicated
we cannot serve you alcohol.
She puts the receipt in the bag
and hands it over.
Have a good one, I say.
She gives me a silent look
which says more than I care to admit
though I tell myself
I won’t remember it anyway.