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Friday In Schnuck's

Everyone has a list when they come in. Big carts, little carts, red baskets. Sales on apples, sales on bananas - were these even on my list? Halloween barely over and the sugar is on sale! Can't wait for Christmas? Men push the carts, women hold the lists, kids want the free cookie. Thursday is always busy, Friday is quiet in the mornings. Football days - hot dogs are on sale and pop is 2 for $5. Bags of candy are half-priced, overfull cart of additives tempting at the door. Old people come in the morning, young people come in the afternoon, moms come with babies after morning nap. The cart pushers wear gloves, the carts are loud rumbling on the tile floor, make a ruckus at the door. They bring their own shopping bags. Swanson broth is on sale for Thanksgiving.  It is November 2. C&H Sugar is 2 for $5, store brand is $2.28, side-by-side on a big pallet. "This week only - Triple coupons!" "It's Switch and Save Week!" Box tops for education are supposed to help schools. The store manager is a woman. Firewood is on sale. Apple cider in gallon and half gallon jugs. Campbell's Mushroom Soup is $1.19. She brings back the glass milk jar to get a new one, deposits $3.50. Who stores up Halloween decorations for the next year? Seafood Department has catfish fillets for $4.99 - "just-in-time for dinner" - it is 10:32am. Talking loudly on the smart phone "she told someone higher up than me..." Switch from Halloween balloons to Fall balloons. Kid with grandpa, no school today? Charlie Brown sweat shirt gets a cart - too early for Christmas! Lights, wreaths, red ribbons in the Floral Department. Why does everyone have to enter through the produce when the milk is way in the back? Retired Chemical Workers Local 544 wear the jacket and buy the chicken broth. Retired Army Colonel wears the hat. Crestwood, South County - the mall is dead across the street. Empty parking lots are like a graveyard. Grocery stores are locally owned here. Cart wipes kill 99.9% of bacteria! Walking canes come in different shapes and the motorized shopping cart doesn't work today. Sandwich generation brings mom shopping. Widower does it alone with a big cart. Trees outside are changing colors. Grocery stores have floor to ceiling windows. Workers take smoking breaks out back. Starbucks is down the street. Coffee in the store is gross. "Mommy can we get this pleeaaseeeeee?" Same people every week same time. Shopping bags are recyclable. Flu shot for $27.99. Bagged Ripe & Ready Bananas for $1.69. Lottery machines, coin machines, U S Bank. Sales papers come out on Thursday. Rakes are red this year. Hand cream on sale for $3. Floral bouquets for $17. Mammoth Ferm for $24.99. Recess snack size for $1.99. Entemann's Little Bites are 2 for $5. Everyone can hear the one-sided cell phone chat. Giant caramel and pecan apples for $5.99. Advertisements on shopping carts. Neighborhood newspapers are at the entrance. Do people use the yellow pages anymore? floral department wears an apron. Sensible shoes come in different colors.  Books. Beer. Bakery. Green Giant cut green beans are 2 for $1. Frozen Foods are far away from Produce. Voice on the intercom says to "call 91" "Floral Department  you have a call holding on 1" "Lauren you have a call parked on 1." His pacifier is a football. Neighborhood people meet in the cart aisle. Pay electric bill, list on back of envelope. Coupon lady has a plastic box. Recycle clean plastic bags here. "Meat department you have a call holding." The produce guy is the cart guy is the bagger guy and the cart girl has the day off. Little kids like the steering wheel cart. Lots of people come at 11:45am. Retired Baby Boomers do it themselves. 101st Airborne. "My knees are hurting, think I may get the sugar." New immigrants come every day. He skip-ran to get the last car cart, "Mommy, race car!" Big boy, mommy holds baby sister. Silver hair gets three of the $5.99 giant caramel and pecan apples. Salad bar 1 lb for $6.99. Eat really fast on 15 minute break. 6 hour shift, no lunch hour, no benefits. Stock guys wear khaki and red. Bakery and floral wear the same. Cashiers wear all black. Cart guys wear khaki and black. Listen to the languages. Young couples come at 12:32pm. Older gentlemen take the hat off when they come inside. Smart car in the parking lot - where will they fit the groceries? Crowd of seniors come at the same time. "So how are you?" "Fine, and you?" Starbucks cup in one hand, talking on the smart phone in another hand - how will she push that cart? Cell phone walking, "I'm looking for some glueten free cookies for you" as she puts Halloween sale candy in the shopping cart. 10 for $10 mix-and-match sale. They rock side-to-side when they walk, hold the cart for support. High heeled boots to grocery shop. Too many black purses. All black in red ankle boots. "Hey! I know you." He wears black compression socks and khaki shorts. The worker in brown leather jacket pushes the old lady in the wheelchair with the grocery cart attached. Coach purses with the double CCs are ugly. Motown playing on the loudspeaker. Dancing in the street. $1 off 8 piece fried chicken. Catholic school kids shop with the whole family. Mom has four under 6 and one more on the way. Nuns don't all wear habits anymore. Ethnic priest wears the white beard and round hat, all black robes to his ankles. Aging lebians have short hair. Hostess twinkies are $1. Go home at 3:00pm.

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The Burden

This isn't mine anymore

What?

This.

She stretched out her hands
the parcel neatly wrapped
brown paper
with a
red bow

What is this?

Take it, it is your's.

But

No, it is not mine to carry
Anymore

What do you mean?

I mean that I am giving it back
it was never mine
anyway

I don't understand

You never did.

I don't want it.

Take it.

No.

So she
dropped
it
right
where
she stood.

And turned
and walked away.

The package was never her's to hold.
So she let it go.


Tayé Foster Bradshaw is the poet's nom de plumme. She resides in a suburb of St. Louis surrounded by her family, her books, her pens, and her lattes.

This poem is inspired by the lives and burdens of many women, particularly women of color, who are forced to carry the cares, thoughts, and expectations of others without regard to their own wants, needs, and health. This poem is a release.




Black Mama Tears

It rained this afternoon

Loud claps of thunder

Almost couldn't see the rain

For my tears falling down

Black Mama Tears

too many

dying

in their sleep

on a run

at a store

too many

stopped

just walking

just working

just breathing

It rained today

And I couldn't see

for all the weeping

of

Black

Mamas.

Bridges by Tayé Foster Bradshaw

Walking
across time
Bringing me to you
or
you to me
over a way through-
tears and fears
to bring us to
the other side of possibility
probability
reality
reality
crossing
structures
through
over
under
hold on
don't look down
look down
walk on over
dance on over
wheels on over
over over over
water and roads and
all the modes that
bring
me
to
you
or





you
to
me
collectively
connected
collaborating
across
the great
wide
way


©2016. Tayé Foster Bradshaw Group, Antona Smith. All Rights Reserved.

Bridges used to scare me as a little girl. In the town where I grew up, in order to get from my neighborhood over to the swimming pool or summer activities, we walked. I was always fine until we reached the crest of the hill and that looming structure that connect roads-to-roads, over cars zooming beneath, promising me opportunity on the other side, if I just trusted the weight of my tiny skinny nine-year-old self against the wind blowing or the sun streaming over this manmade steal structure.  My l…