“You’re Bound to See Someone You Know at Walmart” by Jacob Lindberg

Jacob Lindberg


Back home, I see you filling up a cart,
but we pretend we don’t know each other,

and I remember how we practiced forgiveness
more times than we should’ve. How you

texted me that we should stop and I agreed,
but after a while I heard the pronunciations

of your hips like a Swede saying sorry up north,
pointed and everywhere. And in the laundry

room, we broke down. You saying just
a little and quiet quiet but your parents

couldn’t hear us over The Sopranos, and soon
we were back in the garage, agreeing we didn’t

feel so guilty only doing it once in a while.
And now, when you grab the off-brand bag

of cereal, toss it on the reams of diapers,
we forgive each other by saying nothing,

by checking out in separate aisles, listening
to the rocks kick up under the wheels

of our carts outside the automatic doors.

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Jacob Lindberg: “I wrote this poem after returning to my hometown, a city where Walmart is pretty much the only place that’s been able to stay in business. Somehow, Walmart, where I’m always bound to run into someone from the past, has transformed into some sort of container for these memories. Likewise, I often think that poetry serves as some sort of container for these memories.”

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