licensed trong nguyen
Waiting in the Home Depot Parking Lot
by Rikki Santer

From the capsule of my husband’s van,
I peer through a veil of windshield
raindrops muting images of so many
t-shirted men carting the heavy currency
of American hologram. Some corpulent,
others wiry, some wear flag bandanas
or craggy faces that they’ve earned.
This tattooed guard takes shelter
around pallets, drag on Camels, laugh
at strangers’ kids, startle a fragile parade
of goslings making its way beneath
their rusted pick-up trucks with
mudflap girls. Biding tides of national
meanness, I project our respective
repositories of judgment, our adverbs
jam-packed with yes & no.
Rain gets harder, a day’s damp tang,
our lives numbed by soundbites & tweets
and the narrow of what we each believe
from our tiny berths.

PHOTO: Home Depot store somewhere in the USA by Trong Nguyen, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is a response to one of my neighborhood landmarks that shows up, according to the company’s website, in more than 2,200 locations in North America.

Rikki Santer photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad, including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream, and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors, including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Her eighth collection, Drop Jaw, inspired by the art of ventriloquism, was published by NightBallet Press in the spring of 2020. Visit her at