The kid comes in, snaps a few photos of a living clutter, the retail store.
“We don’t have anything like this.” The standard review, spoken by the parent of the kid who shares the photo on Instagram, Facebook, or some other app.
The shop sits on a tilted, bottom floor, two blocks from the Willamette river, not wanting to budge from its spot.
The rest of the shanghaiing office building was abandoned long ago.
The old offices, upstairs, real ghosts, shades of what they used to be.
I write receipts in illegible handwriting, transfer them to yellow, college-ruled paper for inventory, translations of the ancient product.
There’s a million means to be misunderstood, just as many to understand. Two sides of love I recognize.
If there is a dead spot in a day, receipts rest. I read Dante’s “Inferno”.
Crawling through levels, until you reach something frozen, eating away, without regard
to what’s around it, all attention spent upon what is being chewed. Virgil and Dante crawl down/up the leg of the Devil, out of the ice, a double paradox.
“This must be a dream job.” The parent speaks again while buying the kid a logo T-shirt of the shop.
The kid looks hopeful, if he moves here, there’s a chance to reach paradise. He can go to college like his parents want him to, live the lifestyle he’s always dreamed of, get away from strip malls, advance placement classes, bullies, lovers, and parental expectations.
He has been misunderstood so many times. He desires to reach understanding. Two sides of love I recognize.
I smile, showing all my missing teeth and think of Virgil as I write up their receipt.