Voices on the Wind
Voices on Waiting
At Kroger Plaza
by Kathy Lohrum Cotton
A customer waits for the bag boy
who waits for the cashier
who waits for a produce price-check
as other shoppers cease shopping
and quietly queue their silver carts
in the stalled line. Lethargy oozes
out the automatic doors,
creeps across damp black asphalt,
absorbs the glitter of carnival lights
in the southwest corner of Kroger Plaza.
At the H&H ticket booth a tattooed man
drums fingers on a metal change box.
Empty kiddy cars stall between light beams,
and the steel arms of The Tempest droop
near a Ferris wheel’s stiff circle,
the undisturbed boxes of Malone’s taffy,
rows of teddy bears in silent vigil over
deflating balloons, ducks guarding their pond.
Back at the check-out, a customer remarks
what a pity that the cold drizzle ruined
the carnival. But in the Winner-Every-Time
booth a carny squints and curses
the spirits. He knows: right there,
on an April night at the Kroger parking lot,
the fiery Spirit of Frenzy fiercely battled
the Spirit of Waiting.