Verities By Grace Cavalieri

Maybe she had dementia,
the old lady in the woolen hat,
I don’t know, but she
stopped short in the middle of the aisle,
when her son shouted, PUT THAT BACK.
Clutching a small bag of chips –
like a newborn against her chest,
like a prayer,
like something she owned –
her face collapsed,
Please, but no sound came except,
PUT IT BACK! NOW! PUT IT BACK!
This was Christmas Eve, not that it matters;
Why even embellish a story like that.
I can only tell you I walked behind her
as she walked behind her son,
until I could no longer watch,
yet there was something about
her lopsided hat, her lowered head
that made me sure
no matter what happened next,
she would not put it back

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