When I buy bagged corn chips, a bag of potatoes,
and a bag of cheddar cheese popcorn
and take these bagged items to the cash register if I don't
watch, the cashier will throw these bagged items into a bag
and if I say there's no need to bag these bagged things
she will look at me as if I just sneezed a volcanic truck.
What, no bag? Are you sure you don't want these bagged?
And I really have to think about it—
not whether I need these bagged items further bagged
but how to answer her and I tell her do you know over
one hundred billion bags fill our landfills
hang like icicles off power lines float on the oceans,
not total, but added every year and she cocks her head
as if to say, that's an interesting bit of trivia,
a social problem on a world scale,
but how does that apply to us? You've got three items
here at this register which need to be bagged.
You didn't bring your personal bag to bag them in,
I've got two more hours in my shift, working for minimum wage,
plus a t-shirt, and most normal people bag even bagged items.
And I'm so worried her head might explode
from this sudden paradigm-shift,
this unexpected global overview,
that an argument might erupt
spilling onto the street consuming the city
and the more I think about it,
what's this all about but containment,
what's America about but containment,
be it drug suspects, terror suspects, Commies,
thoughts that make too much sense
or little chips, pre-popped popcorn, and fat potatoes?
And if I don't catch her at the right moment,
if I tell her after she bags my pack of chewing gum
in a huge plastic bag that I don't need a bag for that
she will take the item out of the bag and crumple up the bag
because now I've despoiled it for someone else's bagging
which completely misses the point,
and I've lost so much sleep over this
that I now find myself sleepwalking
with bags under my eyes.