Please Avoid a Cataclysmic Geyser Uprush

From Unpredictable Hue, published in 2019.

Please Avoid a Cataclysmic Geyser Uprush

Blue polo shirt/khaki pants
walks across the asphalt parking lot
White oxford cloth shirt/gray tie
leaves his suit coat out in the car
Sheath dress in an asymmetric block print
casts a quizzical glance at the bottled water
Brown striped button-down shirt
leans over a salad as if to pin it down
Jeans jacket and black jersey pants
squeezes mustard on a too-full sandwich
Long-sleeved black shirt and tote handbag
unscrews the fizzy water in the green bottle and sighs.

It’s busy in the grocery store.
Concrete floor. Concrete walls.
Very air-conditioned. Very clean.
Music that we like to listen to. Snap of paper bags.
Somewhere far away
glass makes contact with the floor.
We hear the object hit. We hear the shatter
We hear the whole and its breaking apart.
We envision the spray of shards
the spread of liquid. We feel
the moment of small shock expanding
the suspension of shopping activity.
We hear the
short silence the oh no
We feel embarrassed.
We are relieved to be able to look away
We are glad that if someone has to admit guilt
and stand in a glass-strewn puddle
it will not be us. We look away
Sheath dress. Oxford cloth shirt. Jeans jacket.
All of us. We look away.