I Am, Indeed, the 24-Hour Convenience Store by Dawn Angelicca Barcelona

My job is to be the convenience store,
open-door-melody ringing proudly
–”Ka-Talk”– squeaking by your screen
a notification that a bite of your snack
can be eaten now. Hide those articles
you’re sharing with me before your boss
swings by you with another task, a silence
for a few minutes before I open-door-melody
sing to you in an answer, a response
to what you’ve sent me, tangentially running
your hands along other snacks in the aisle
when there was only one thing you needed–
jja-wang  and hot water–meal prep time for
the night ahead, where I imagine you sitting
at the same coffeeshop kitty-corner from the
office where I can’t stand making eye contact with
you. Who loves chocolate bars only before
lunchtime? When I don’t hear from you,
I “Ka-Talk” my way to your screen about my students
and why they’ve made me smile and cry in the same day.

Sometimes you run in like one of these kids,
rush by me without saying annyeonghaseyo,
open-door-melody rushing after you, wanting
to be consumed, and you buy a bottle of soju,
soak your head in its coolness, warm your body
up to be ready to lash at me, back out the door.
I know you won’t be back until Monday morning, 8:57am.

But even now, I open-door-melody motion to you before I sleep.
This is what it really means: buy one more thing from me, please.

 

‘jja-wang’   Korean instant noodles with black bean sauce 
annyeonghaseyo’  Korean word for “hello”

dawn-angelicca-barcelona
Bio: Dawn Angelicca Barcelona is a New Jersey born-and-bred poet who graduated from Rutgers University in 2014. Her English honors thesis on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee inspired her to live and work in South Korea for two years where she worked for The Fulbright Program, teaching English to elementary school students and serving as the Editor-in-Chief of The Fulbright Korea Infusion literary magazine. Now back in the U.S., Dawn continues to write poetry and works on the talent team at MuleSoft in San Francisco.
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