Seven Women In Line at the Pharmacy at Dusk

Seven Women In Line at the Pharmacy at Dusk

We are quiet and courteous. The woman
with Tylenol lets the bent-over woman go
in front with a cart full of incontinence briefs.

A man tends the scanner and register.
His shirt tail needs tucking in at the back
and his hair could use a slicking down.

He grabs a mic and asks for help
at customer service. It’s a Wednesday,
Wodin’s Day for the wisdom of the dead.

For succor, I have raspberry and peach candies.
And a bottle of elderberry syrup since the store
is out of surgical masks that strain out viruses.

The clerk told the third woman to try a home repair
mega-store down the road. Dust masks
might do; most people don’t consider that.

The woman in front of me carries hand sanitizer,
two Sudoku paperbacks, and chocolate
bites individually wrapped in gold foil.

Now is the time of gray slow-down, day going
dark toward the end of a line. A truck may come
tomorrow. With masks or maybe not,

no matter this winter storm warning
of high winds and localized snow squalls.
We are quiet and courteous and watchful.

A second man lumbers over from stocking shelves
to ring us out, plugs in his key card. Thanks
us for our patience. As if no one’s in a hurry.

Tricia Knoll feels as if she has a corona target on her breast for vulnerability. She is a Vermont poet whose website is

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