we rode in cars with seatbelts
that didn’t go across the chest
but instead girded the waist,
down to the corner store to get
12 packs of cokes. sometimes
the car was brown. sometimes blue.
sometimes white. always older than
it was basically a 3 minute drive
from grampa’s house to the corner
store, wherein unc would impart
wisdoms and aphorisms or just pop
in a tom waits tape and let ol’
tom do the talking.
i’d go in the store. sometimes i’d
have money, but mostly not and
sometimes he’d buy me a treat.
there were so many options
of brightly colored candies and
sodas and slushees and it was a
shitty convenience store but i
loved to look at the opulence of the age.
imagine what an amazing world awaited me
if convenience stores like this were
just around the corner.
mother had always warned against
gas station hot dogs. those sweaty
conglomerations of meats were a
culinary and hygienic affront,
rotating in their hot purgatories
for what could have been years,
waiting for an unsuspecting rube
to come along and buy the filth.
so it was shocking when unc bought
one of those hot dogs and offered
me one too.
don’t you know those things are gross?
he replied only,
it’s important to have a strong appreciation for trash.