Boy in Giant
by Kimberly L. Becker
Whole families shopping at night! Ginsberg
The checkout girl on her break
is munching sour cream and onion Pringles
with her mouth open.
She is telling the checkout boy, who is scanning my groceries
with a slow, indifferent precision,
how she has too much Algebra and English homework.
The boy says he never goes to school, except for art class,
which he never misses.
I want to tell him, but I don’t,
to hang on,
to steer towards beauty even if he has to let
certain other things drop.
The line amasses behind me as he searches for bar codes
buried in the plastic creases of each package.
He exclaims in general to those of us comprising the late-night populace
of the superstore, “Where’d all these people come from?”
As he off-handedly hands me the ribboned receipt and coupons I say,
to him in particular, “I hope things quiet down for you.”
But he neither replies nor meets my eyes,
as he moves to the next customer’s merchandise.
Kimberly L. Becker has recent or forthcoming publications in
Autumn Sky Poetry, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Borderlands,
Ghoti Magazine, Triplopia, and in an anthology of contemporary
women’s poetry, Letters to the World (Red Hen Press). Her poems
also inspired a dance choreographed by Dr. Lenette Perra, Ballet
Master and Resident Choreographer of the Tennessee Children’s
Dance Ensemble. Becker has held a fellowship in fiction (New Jersey),
with short fiction in Parting Gifts. A Southerner of European and
Cherokee descent, she lives with her family near Washington, D.C.
She can be reached at malinoiskim38(at)yahoo.com.
On “Boy in Giant”:
Giant is a supermarket chain in the Mid-Atlantic region of the
United States, but the title also plays with the suggestion of a boy
beginning to make adult, or “giant,” decisions. I wrote the draft
on the back of my grocery list. When I encountered this boy, my
own son had recently started at a public magnet school for the arts,
so I was particularly attuned to the topic of art class. The poem is
written in looser form than I favor now, but I like the nudge
towards slant rhyme at the end. The poem is about vocation—what
we are called to do that we sometimes fall away from, often due to
lack of encouragement by those who have influence over our life
decisions, especially when we are young. The poem is also about
the transactions we make, economic and otherwise, that reflect our
values. It is about how values accrue (or at least are reinforced)
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 2, Number 2
Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors