They're big on rapid throughput here:
the staff know they're being watched,
so it's fair to say that, just right now,
the checkout operator's smile
— while usable — has passed
its recommended Best Before.
The problem's you.
It's not like last week, when you put
the card in backwards ‒ that was easy ‒
nor those other times you've had to
punch your PIN in more than once.
It's not that you've forgotten
what the bastard number is:
you use the fucker every other day.
It's the keypad. You can't see it
because ‒ without any warning
on this Special Offer Thursday ‒
your eyes have started filling up.
Leaking down your face.
And you stand there, raiding pockets
on the offchance there's a tissue
'til, abandoning all hope (and
with it, anything like dignity),
you cut your losses: go for
fists-in-shirt-cuffs like a kid.
It gets the job done, mind. Besides,
by now you're long past caring ‒ so
it comes as some surprise to find,
in palming your receipt, that she's
gone all existential on your ass.
You look blank. She sighs, repeats ‒
in the special voice reserved for the
slow-witted and infirm:
'Yes thanks,' you tell her, knowing it’s a lie
cos the one thing you do need,
they never have here:
someone to hold you while you howl
and not let go until the howling's done.