Wednesday, July 24, 2019


Kristen worked at a kiosk in the mall
for two and a half months.
She sold…no.
She attempted to sell…no.
She sat apathetically next to her kiosk,
which was filled with different types
of cheaply made “cell phone charms.”
And she mostly stared at her own phone,
ignoring the shoppers around her.
And this was partly why
she only worked there for two and a half months,
but that’s another story.
While Kristen labored at this kiosk,
she overheard only fractions
of hundreds of conversations every day
as people streamed past her

If he ever wants to see that child again…
I told her she was a whore, right in front of her mom…
And then the tumor was gone!  The doctors were…
I haven’t seen them at church in weeks…
My face is just so oily
Did you see that episode last night?  Oh my God!
I am very sensitive to beta-carotine because my liver…
He just looks like a stalker, don’t you think?
She came in well after her curfew, and I told her…
I found $3,000 under his mattress, and…
Jack’s friend told Olivia that you said…
I have no choice but to fire him after he…
I was like, isn’t anyone going to call the police?
I am never going to that pizza place again!
Her sister-in-law got wasted and ruined the wedding…
If I tell him, he’s just going to kill me!

It was a kaleidoscope of sounds and speech,
with Kristen as a silent witness.
She had no interest in leaving her stool
to follow any of these threads of conversation
to discern more context
or hear their resolution.
Except for one time
when she heard a deep voice
distinctly shout, “Kristen!”
She looked up sharply,
craned her neck in all directions,
but could not find the source of this salutation,
and slouched again in her stool.
Mall time moved slower than any other minute or hour,
and it was a beautiful day.

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