A Day Aptly Named, Black Friday
(click – hear the voice behind the words)
She was crushed to death on Black Friday.
First in line at the local Wal-Mart
she arrived at 2 am.
The crowd filled in behind her
got more antsy as the hours passed,
the temperature started to dip,
on a day approaching winter
more than Indian Summer.
Though the store was scheduled to open early at 5:30 am,
packed like sardines
people started to push around 4:30.
At first just irritating –
then disconcerting –
finally the jostling morphed into jousting,
became a real concern.
Disoriented she tried to hold her ground
the back of her thighs ached, tightened
from being pushed to the tips of her toes
like a ballerina, which she wasn’t.
A rope divider in front of her
like the red carpet at the Oscars
cordoning off the line
to leave enough space so the store
could actually open the doors when the hour came.
pushed up a few inches at a time
she tried to yell for people to ease off –
no one could hear –
except for the few in the same predicament directly behind her –
the deafness of impending catastrophe.
The crowd acting as if in Times Square at New Year’s,
started a countdown to the opening hour.
By 5:25 no more than a few inches from the glass
she started to rap, with her purse.
She had no idea that her own death was imminent
it was not in the sales flyer –
although not prone,
fear spread through her veins
as if she lay flat over the pit with the pendulum’s blade
moving closer and closer to her chest.
When the blue coated attendants appeared
on the other side of the plate glass
the crowd surged.
Slapped against the pane
the way she had once slapped a rude patron in a bar,
crushed against the door
as if in a giant human vice,
she attempted one last futile call
just before she lost all breath.
Diaphragm and lungs flatted like a pancake.
Few of her Wal-Mart “shopping colleagues”
ever noticed her predicament,
too busy reading the sales signs
or the coupons they held in their hands like prayer cards.
When they straightened out the hysteria,
– a story in and of itself –
her lifeless body slumped to the sidewalk.
What was bred from us
that this crowd could continue on its way
walk right over the body
as they would walk past a homeless man
curled in a sleeping blanket
on the sidewalk in New York?
Who can comprehend
why this should be –
why it came to pass –
crushed to death by her own people
on a day aptly named – Black Friday.