Sunday, January 31, 2010


I was in the supermarket,

pushing around a shopping cart,

minding whatever was left of my own business,

staring at the cereal boxes and squinting into the miserable brightness.

A little blonde-haired girl, with blue-green eyes too big for her

sidled up to me,

and told me that she wished it would start raining on me

wherever I went.

She said she was wishing as hard as she could wish.

I told her that I didn’t own an umbrella.

She said, “Good.”

I asked where her mother was.

She said, “None of your business.”

I asked how old she was.

She said, “Old enough.”

Witty kid.

I figured she wasn’t older than the digits of one hand could show.

I asked her name.

She happily pronounced, “Hadara,”

which in Hebrew means, “She who is adorned with beauty.”

And she was,

and would probably always be.

That explained her hatred for me.

Beauty always dislikes the things that oppose it:

the things that grunt and labor

through the meaninglessness and pushcarts of shit the world dumps on them,

those of us who don’t belong anywhere,

who would rather blackout than be a success.

That little girl,

who had a predilection for sticking her tongue out at me,

already knew what it was she was always going to abhor.

She saw it in my eyes—

the squinting blood-shot things that besmirched her very existence.

I wished her a good day and shoved off,

the bad wheel on my cart grumbling and squealing like a cat in a dryer.

Hadara spun away,

running timidly down the aisle after her calling mother.

I heard a shriek and some commotion.

She’d slipped on the slick floor and fell.

People gasped and ran to help her up,

to see if she were okay.

But I knew it was all an act,

and she didn’t shed one tear,

just let her mother swoop her up

and hold her up high like a trophy,

while she looked at me—

rather generously—

and gave me the worst hard-luck smile in the world.

It was the greatest gift

anyone has ever bestowed upon me.