The Night Cashier

The Night Cashier

A Poem by Naomi Bloom
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A poem about my experience as an overnight cashier at a grocery store.

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I’ve been reduced to this

Dark short pale figure,

Floating around the grocery store

In the middle of the night.

I haunt the customers as I hover

Over my podium,

Quietly turning the pages of a newspaper

Like the sound of a speedy blade;

Angry, searching.


I am the money lady of the night,

handling your crisp bills while the other cashiers sleep.

Counting nickels and sheep

While I am drowsily awake,

Living this pointless lie in an empty gaudy building.


Thursday is the day the flyer changes and the least lonely,

Friday is the busiest, 

Saturday the customers are the rudest,

And Sunday is the quietest and the loneliest.  


And you’re never too happy to be there with me.

Sometimes you’re bubbling with rage.

The beautiful men I admire see me as the enemy,

Or at least the obstacle.

And who could blame you?


It’s zero dark thirty,

You’re paying inflated prices

And you’re out of your element,

Forced to use a self-checkout...


But enough vinegar words and you have me gagging.

Enough coldness and I’m frozen where I stand.

I don’t use as much expression in my words anymore.

I suppose it’s my final shield

To go with my final sword; an X-Acto knife.


Sometimes it overwhelms me;

The tears pour out

As I lean over the black conveyor belt,

Shining bright, 

glistening with fresh hot soapy water,

Like a night sky covered with a blanket of stars.

I could go for a blanket just about now.


As I walk between the registers and scrub, scrub, scrub,

I catch glimpses of a miniature hallway museum.

Beach bodies captured in unflattering poses,

A display of the many varieties of candy, chocolate and gum,

Archie and soap operas,


Glossy women on the covers of fashion magazines.

They are strange creatures without blemishes, cellulite or feelings;

Something not quite human about them.

But I try not to stare;

It would be rude.


Autopsies, divorces, scandals, pregnancies, 

Lies, lies, lies!,

Written in the ink of grinning, proud dishonesty,

Printed in the biggest font so that they can be grabbed by the saddest and dumbest of all the sheep.


The stockers go about their business 

And leave me to mine;

A few scattered conversations

Over spans of months.

They are always there, in the aisles,

But I am always alone.


Skulking through the store 

With an ear cocked for the robotic woman’s voice,

The beep

That I now hear whether it’s really there or not.


Where does it go?

The box of cookies, the bag of oranges, 

the bundle of toilet paper, the apple pie,

the melatonin pills.

4 am, solemnly rolling the constant shopping cart;

Always looking, bringing the items back to their homes.

How I long for home.


As I pass through the automatic door

And breathe in the fresh morning air,

The sky is just as I left it,

Dark and menacing.

But sometimes it leaves me a gift,

A reward for my sweat and loneliness;

A bright red sunset,

Sometimes bright pink.

It fills me with joy

To see something beautiful again.


Some mornings as I sit by the window after work

I beg the sun to wait a few more hours to rise.

I turn off the lights

And face my glowing laptop.

The darkness is intoxicating when it surrounds me.

© 2014 Naomi Bloom


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Reviews

this was a touching piece. it's raw and honest and there's a wisdom about the cashier. she sees the people as sheep. that's the place to find them. it conveyed the long lonely hours of working a shift that barely exists. i think there are a lot of people that could relate to this, or realize that those night cashiers who we deem invisible have feelings and intelligent thoughts. excellent poem.

Posted 6 Years Ago


Naomi Bloom

6 Years Ago

Thank you! Glad you liked it.

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Added on January 12, 2014
Last Updated on January 12, 2014
Tags: night, cashier, poem, naomi bloom, writing, overnight, grocery, store, retail, loneliness, food, sadness, sunrise, darkness, zero dark thirty, sky, customer, stocker, rut, anger, numbness, rude, sleep

Author

Naomi Bloom
Naomi Bloom

Ontario, Canada



About
An amateur writer of poems, short stories and other types of writing. I recently graduated from university and I am trying to figure out what to do with my life. Victorian England, name meanings, be.. more..

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