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Ali Liebegott

Ali Liebegott is the author of the novels Cha-Ching! (City Lights, 2013), The IHOP Papers (Carroll & Graf, 2007), and The Beautifully Worthless (Suspect Thoughts, 2005). Her honors include a poetry fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts. She writes for the TV show Transparent and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Ali Liebegott

By This Poet

3

Shift #5

for Seamus Heaney 

 
a box of coconut water 
two cans of coconut milk 

so many looking for help 

some people care when a poet dies 

a poem is a conscience 
a report card, a confession: 

today my lies were a motor that spun the Earth 

how can you get truth from a hill 
when I am the continent that drifts? 

how can I taste what I’m mourning 
when soon everything will be salt from the sea? 

 
—8/30/13, Register 6 
          1 PM—5:15 p.m.

Senior Discount

I want to grow old with you.
Old, old.

So old we pad through the supermarket
using the shopping cart as a cane that steadies us.

I’ll wait at register two in my green sweater
with threadbare elbows, smiling
because you’ve forgotten the bag of day-old pastries.

The cashier will tell me a joke about barbers as I wait.
He repeats the first line three times
but the only word I understand is barber.

Over the years we’ve caught inklings
of our shrinking frames and hunched spines.

You’re a little confused
looking for me at the wrong register with a bag
of almost-stale croissants clenched in your hand.

The first time I held your hand it felt enormous in my own.
Sasquatch, I teased you, a million years ago.

Over here, I yell, but not in a mad way.

We’re laughing.
You have a bright yellow pin on your coat that says, Shalom!

Senior Discount, you say.
But the cashier already knows us.
We’re everyone’s favorite customers.
 

Hope

always the hopeless asked to give others hope
the ones pushed up against wall after wall

when you’re done unpinning yourself
from the wall, please give hope

those who work twice as hard to seem half as good
being asked to do one more thing

we need to be seen
because things are not going well
and the crows are up to no good
 

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