Receipts for Life Spent
By Emily J. Lawrence
Someone ate bacon and eggs
for breakfast. For lunch. For
dinner. I don't know. But
someone had bacon and eggs.
With a coffee and three refills.
My alarm clock rouses me
at 5:15. I have nowhere to go
but I need to feed my plant.
I tell it I'm alone. You're supposed
to talk to plants. I tell it I'm alone.
I keep all my receipts in a drawer.
They tell me I'm alive. The hair
cut I got a week ago. My hot
water bill. I have my paycheck
stubs. It proves I lived those days
I don't remember. Those boring days.
My office goes out for drinks. I'm
not invited, but I have work to do. I'll
be here until eleven. A new apartment
complex will be build with unsafe materials.
I'll be here until eleven thirty, in green
iridescent lights, like windows on my computer
screen, blocking out figures and numbers.
McDonald's at midnight tastes the same:
like grease. I toss my waded paper at
the outside trash can. It bounces off the rim
to the ground. I leave it there. I walk up
the sidewalk, shivering at the sound of
barking dogs in dark yards.
I think I'll quit my job. There's no
reason to work this late. I only
work to buy food and it's never
that good. I put the Daisy Market
receipt in my drawer, a memento
of Cornflakes, milk, and bananas.
This world has to be a mistake. Or
at least something went horribly wrong.
Now that it's a piece of trash, would
God to bend and pick it up?
I wouldn't. I won't waste my time.
A scrap of something blows along
the ground. It blows under my shoe and
I step on it. It's a piece of paper, I pick
it up. A Denny's receipt. Someone had bacon
and eggs. And coffee with three refills.
And they lived today. I put it my drawer;
I am not alone.