Dogs 2014

EXPIRED
(10/15/14)


when we
arrived
in the grocery store
parking lot
she handed
me the milk

the receipt

"here

YOU
return it

I'll wait
here"

I was 8
or 9
and VERY
unsure of
myself

in public

while putting
things away
Mom had noticed
that the milk
was past
the Best Used
By date

I asked her
why
she hadn't
noticed that
before she
put it
in the cart

I was
an obnoxious
little shit
in familiar
surroundings

"come on"

she said

"WE
have to take
this back"

I went
through
the automatic
door

felt
the cool rush
of air conditioning

and slowly
approached
the nearest cashier

busy
with a shopper
she didn't even
notice me

when
she did
she asked
gruffly

"why
didn't you look
at the expiration
date?"

I felt
as if
the Dumb Ass
spotlight
of the universe
was shining
down
upon me

Mom
didn't say
a word
on the drive
home

she had
her new carton
of milk

there was
a lesson
there

somewhere

now
she's gone

if the
cashier
is still alive
she's very
old

probably
infirmed

possibly
institutionalized

meanwhile
I walk around
relatively
healthy

I have long
since
given up
drinking
milk