The cashier at Walgreens knows that I will not fill out the customer satisfaction survey but she points to the website on my receipt anyway. And I love that about her. I smile, thank her graciously, and leave, walking through the sliding doors into humidity. The heat reminds me of an Indian woman I saw in the cosmetic aisle. Her hair was thick and frizzy, almost grazing her hips. Her fingertips rested on a box of hair dye. For who? I don’t know. Perhaps herself, perhaps the part of her that never experimented with hair color or piercings or tattoos but she’s finding time for all that now. I look at her more meticulously, taking inventory of her details the way men do when they see a beautiful woman. She is wearing a t-shirt with a band’s name across the chest in bold yellow lettering. Her hips and legs are covered by a flouncy blue skirt with pockets and ruffles. There are burgundy sneakers on her feet. Her clothing reveals an edge, or rather, a texture that her demeanor lacks. I check her arms and neck for tattoos, her ears for piercings but all is bare. I wonder if the tattoo I am looking for is concealed on a brown limb beneath her skirt. I wonder if there are saris hanging in her closet, if she speaks Bengali, if her grandparents live in a flat along the Arabian sea growing herbs on their balcony, still waiting for their children to visit. I wonder what literature she enjoys. I wonder if she likes what the humidity has done to her hair. I wonder if we’d get along. I wonder if she will fill out the customer satisfaction survey, or disregard it like me.
- Read Poem: How to be open is complicated and family doesn’t help, by Sarah Bellum Mental
- Read Poem: Beauty of Imperfection, by Divya Parvatrao
- Read Poem: Trees From Childhood, by Belinda Subraman
- Interview with Author Mary Barr (HOW TO BUY A HUSBAND)
- Interview with Poet David Cook (A LAST LOOK BEFORE LEAVING)