On receiving the vaccine in a Walmart

On receiving the Vaccine in a Walmart

I smile with my eyes
but I know I only look wary–
that the thin squint above my mask
must read more like mistrust. 

Is the Virus smaller than

the smell of popcorn?
Smaller than the scent of 
and floor wax
that in different times would remind me of
record stores when dad was alive
or silent libraries of bended spines
where I was not needed, 
when I was not seen–

I receive the needle.

Turnstiles rattle and sensors beep 
but no one is there to check the receipts.
Carts crash– incessant bags hiss
like a sea in a shell to the ear–

Hands folded I wait
for my throat to close and know
if I slump from a stroke
the girl in the blue smock 
would just step around and call for the keys
to the locked-up deodorant.

–Teresa Kiplinger

1 comment

  • Deb Durant

    beautiful writing – such tender observation captured in text.

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