licensed maria kmecova

by Stephanie Campitelli

He was my student
I see him storing, moving, stocking, sliding
The items we live by
The mundane, mandatory things
Cereal, milk, cheese, crackers
They roll by his scanning hands
The anger I saw in school
Now transformed into energy
You can see the smile behind the mask
When they complain
“Limit 2 items? Seriously?”
He apologizes, the cheer remains
He continues scanning
Thanks them for coming
I thank him for being there
I am now his student

PHOTO: Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, New York, April 2, 2020, supermarket cashier in face mask and gloves. Photo by Maria Kmecova, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is about a grocery-store experience I have weekly with a former student of mine, now graduated. He is an inspiration to me in his daily positive attitude, and is a working hero, like so many others. This is for him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Campitelli is an educational consultant, teacher, cellist, and wife, and mother of two.  She has published poetry and her first novel, Connections (2001), with IUniverse Press. She continues to write fiction and nonfiction manuscripts which genre-bend, and continues to have a soft spot for the “poetry in a drawer” that she has created since childhood. Find her on Facebook or at her website at