Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Corner Store

This poem is written for the prompt "Nostalgia", by the
 National Poetry Writing Month's 30 Poems in 30 Days,
and for One Shot Wednesday:
Day 12
Hudson Street Market
Providence, RI

No day pulls down the shade without a prompt
Of lamentation for the past, and loss.
With more than sixty years of life flown fast,
at light'ning speed, I see the corner store,
At Sycamore and Hudson – can’t forget.
This mem’ry from a sea of many more
Has beached upon the shore I walk each day
Discovering old shells along my way.

My mother sent me for the common things –
Butter, bread and milk, just what we needed.
I cringed at her request, perhaps I cried.
I knew I’d be embarrassed at the store
Because we had a bill long overdue.
I knew what Joe would say: “I’m sorry, dear,
You’ll have to pay the bill you owe here now
Before I let you charge another thing!"

Oh God, how did I do it? Even now –
I feel the sting of shame - the tears held back.
Nostalgia – No! No repeat of that scene!
I certainly don’t long to be back there -
But see it in the footnotes of my life,
Defining why I always seem inclined
To hide myself - to keep within my shell.
Embarrassment has been my private hell.


  1. What a beautiful picture!!!! I love NE :) and surely you pulled nostalgia out of me

  2. mmm...this is an excellent write and draws the emotions...i understand that place, being sent knowing you would face the shame...

  3. Oh, how many times was I sent to Hine's Store for a loaf of bread, or sugar, or salt, or whatever was needed for my mother to finish dinner. I didn't face what you did - Hine's accepted no credit. Cash only.

    You brought back a painful memory for you and a good one for me. Good poem.

  4. This was delivered so such great emotional depth, I could feel the cringe of nerves in the experience. Very nice work ~ Rose

  5. Thanks all for reading and for your kind comments - it's great to have some feedback.

  6. You've done a great job at sewing a child's shame into an adult's emotional crazy quilt. My mother used to send me out for cigarettes, for which I was always turned down, even with her scrawled note. Well, duh! I was ten years old. I liked your use of rhyme and meter, too, to give this a backward looking pace in harmony with the title. Nice writing, Ann.

  7. Thanks Gautami and Joy. It is a bit dizzying trying to keep up with these additional prompts I've signed on to, to say my life has been taken over doesn't state it too strongly---loving it of course like any addiction.

  8. I went to that store too.
    Making a poem out of it would be hard for me, although I could make a story from the crumbs.
    You did well.

  9. It's amazing the impact childhood experiences can have on us. Wonderful write. I could see the red, white and blue baloons on the package of Wonder bread, and the pink in your cheeks.

  10. Solid, emotional work that doesn't go overboard with it - nicely balanced between the heart and the brain. Good stuff.

  11. Friko, Tess and Steve, Thanks for your substantive reactions to the poem. The Hudson Street Market opened in 1922 and is still there.

  12. Great nostalic piece... does bring back the days. And hearing the stories of the one my grandparents ran after coming to America.

  13. It's great that this addiction brings us more of Ann .. She has so much to offer ... This poem makes me recall the corner store i was often sent to on errand when we lived in Evanstson, IL, an old old mom & pop store that still had ladders for reaching larder ... Along with the jug of milk I'd lay out for James Bond bubble gum trading cards ... In that memory too the stench of family, of so much going wrong. It was all about staples and dailiness and the awful grind of childhood. Thanks for the bittersweet memory ... Brendan

  14. Embarrassment has been my private hell.

    How many times does this stop people from being who they are, I wonder?

  15. divine words.
    beautiful imagery....bless you.

    Invite you to share your poetry with our poetry potluck today,
    Random poems, poems unrelated to our theme are welcome!

    Hope to see you in.
    Bless your talent.