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Remembering Woolworth's

2010 Poetry Contest Honorable Mention

It reigned in the center of the downtown square;
you could use your actual feet to get there.
Most often you arrived on a coffee break, or
after work when you remembered you needed
new Fruit of the Loom, a Teflon pan for
that night's meatballs. You lingered in the aisles
as if a treasure chest lay unlidded
at your fingers: rhinestone-studded barrettes,
faux fur muffs, a three-foot long snake
for your nephew in his reptile phase.
The air smelled of coffee and onions,
maybe Salisbury steak. Canaries chattered
from somewhere near, as if the place were alive
beside racks of patent leather purses and key chains
jangling with charms, six packs of soda and thermal socks,
and the shelf of the plaid thermos, as if here
they knew the warmth you needed,
the inalienable fact that every small thing
of your life mattered.

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Andres Potos is the recipient of three Outstanding Achievement Awards in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association, and the author of seven poetry collections. She has two other collections forthcoming in 2017 and 2018: Arrows of Light (Iris Press) and A Stone to Carry Home  (Salmon Poetry, Ireland).

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