UFCW Local 1445
  • September 28, 2020
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  • Jericho Brown's poem,
    Updated On: Jun 23, 2020

    Say Thank You Say I’m Sorry

    I don’t know whose side you’re on,

    But I am here for the people

    Who work in grocery stores that glow in the morning

    And close down for deep cleaning at night

    Right up the street and in cities I mispronounce,

    In towns too tiny for my big black

    Car to quit, and in every wide corner

    Of Kansas where going to school means

    At least one field trip

    To a slaughterhouse. I want so little: another leather bound

    Book, a gimlet with a lavender gin, bread

    So good when I taste it I can tell you

    How it’s made. I’d like us to rethink

    What it is to be a nation. I’m in a mood about America

    Today.  I have PTSD

    About the Lord.  God save the people who work

    In grocery stores.  They know a bit of glamour

    Is a lot of glamour.  They know how much

    It costs for the eldest of us to eat. Save

    My loves and not my sentences.  Before I see them,

    I draw a mole near my left dimple,

    Add flare to the smile they can’t see

    Behind my mask. I grin or lie or maybe

    I wear the mouth of a beast. I eat wild animals

    While some of us grow up knowing

    What gnocchi is. The people who work at the grocery don’t care.

    They say, Thank you.  They say, Sorry,

    We don’t sell motor oil anymore with a grief so thick

    You could touch it. Go on. Touch it. 

    It is early.  It is late.  They have washed their hands. 

    They have washed their hands for you. 

    And they take the bus home.

    Mr. Brown used to shop at the Stop & Shop on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain.


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