Walmart by Tina
is my least favorite store on earth.
The lighting ghosts my face.
The music is nauseating.
And all their products remind me
of little children bent over
their work, thinking themselves lucky
that they have this fourteen-hours-a-day
job that teases their tiny bellies
with not enough food.
It’s easy to forget all that
when you look at the cheaper price tag
for the backyard grill, or the toys,
or the cool tween clothes.
Right before we entered the courtroom
to put him in jail for what he did to her,
my thirteen-year-old daughter gathered us
together and said, Once this is over,
and we walk out of here,
I do not want to talk
about this. Ever.
She made us promise.
All of us. When it was over,
she wanted to go to Walmart
for school supplies.
We walked around, upbeat
and beat down, picking out paper,
notebooks, pencils and pens—
will she do the screaming
through her hand?
And the bookbag—
Do they even make one big enough
to carry what she carries?
Attention Walmart shoppers:
There’s a thirteen-year-old girl
who has lived to tell the tale
I pretended with a straight face
she wasn’t rotting away in solitary
right next to me, while we
mechanically put things in the cart,
threw in a People magazine,
and how about gum?
Want some gum?
and drove home.
Tina grew up in a Learjet. Her grandfather, Ole Olsen, was a world famous Vaudeville comedian and a prankster extraordinaire. Her brother is one of this country’s top experts in UFOs. Her children are artists and musicians and restauranteurs. She’s been writing out of that textured life ever since she could put together a decent sentence. She’s a published composer/lyricist for musical theatre; but, it’s her yoga practice that nourishes her most. It has given her a more profound appreciation for life, great food, bad weather, art, mean people, crappy days, and absolutely everything else. She’s not on social media, but check out her blog at www.tinalear.com.