Sisyphus at the Mankato Hyvee
Monday morning: 7:00 a.m.
Mothers troll end caps for bargains,
babies recline luxuriously in strollers.
Toddlers drive race carts, nibbling
cookies and string cheese (complimentary).
Giving the stink eye to parents that
can’t control their goddamn kids,
curmudgeons wheeze by on scooters.
Across the store, a stock boy heaves
himself against a pallet heaped
with fifteen brands of yogurt
and cartons of Move Over Butter.
He is still young and beautiful,
with steely blue eyes and strong forearms;
I admire them as he rolls up his sleeves.
The boy tightens his apron, preparing
for the day’s challenge: produce
towers of yogurt, artfully arranged
by expiration date; highlight type,
brand, and flavor. His lips move
silently: Oikos Nonfat Vanilla,
Dannon Two Percent Greek Vanilla,
Lowfat Hyvee Cherry Vanilla.
I reach to the back of the dairy case
for the freshest container.
Wordlessly, he replaces it.
About the Author: Rebecca Fremo writes poetry and creative nonfiction and teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals including Water~Stone Review, Tidal Basin Review, Lake Region Review, Paper Darts, Mankato Magazine, Poetica, Naugatuck River Review, Full Grown People, and Compose. Her chapbook, Chasing Northern Lights, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012. A Richmond, Virginia, native, she now braves the winters in St. Peter, Minnesota, with her husband and three sons.