Poet’s Corner: The Woman in the Safeway Store, Wandering Through Lessons, Time Well Traveled

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

The Woman In The Safeway Store

Weekday, 7:00A.M. A bit of the rush hour beyond, I thought.

A breath of warmth rushed past the nape of my neck as

I stood in line waiting to pay for a short grocery list

bread, milk, peanut butter and jam.

The heaviness of their breath became apparently noticeable

after seeing the woman in front of me count her pennies and

dimes to pay for a pumpkin pie and three cans of cat food.

The customers tapping the soles of their shoes as though they were

tapping to relieve their anxiety from standing in a line that

was meant for a larger purchases, rather than the

self-service line.

I noticed the older woman’s hands shaking as

she moved the pennies and dimes like chess pieces.

The cashier seemed a bit bothered, my guess from the woman

taking to long.

The deep wrinkles across his forehead deepened as he kept looking

at her, then the customers, apologizing often for the slowness

holding up the line.

The failure of empathy for another human being,

suddenly I became disgusted by their unsettling actions.

I reached into my pocket to recount how much money

I had exactly—fourteen days before getting paid again.

It was then I realized that I didn’t have enough money to pay

for hers and all of mine.

I said to the cashier, put her items on my receipt,

subtract one of the milk and the peach jam.

He said to me, “Are you sure?”

“Oh course,” I said, without hesitation.

After he rung up the purchases,

the woman cried as she hugged and thanked me.

The cashier smiled. The audacity to thanked me,

forgetting that our eyes clashed earlier after I saw him

apologizing to the customers.

And the overly anxiety customers that was still behind me

had to wait because the cashier’s shift ended.

I thought to myself, Karma is certainly the itch in this line.

Tyler Marcil

~ ~ ~ ~

Wandering Through Lessons That Inform Insights

Morning rose as the sun peeked behind his
coffee colored face, a pinch of sweat
dripped from the creases of his flawless skin.

Peter Grant, a fourth grader, was seen wandering
across the neighbor’s lawn, then onto the edge
of the sidewalk waiting for the school bus to arrive.

Kneeling down he grab a handful of the
yellow daisies for Ms. Stella Davidson
his English teacher, today is Appreciation Day.

Suddenly tugged by the collar, thought
I wouldn’t notice the missing daisies,
she says in an undesirable tone. You grubby
little thief, you remind me of a black squirrel
always digging where you don’t belong.

James dear, she screamed out profoundly loudly.
Call the police for this mischievous little nig.

When the men in blue arrived, she quickly pointed out
she wanted the boy arrested for disturbing her daisies
she’d planted.
What’s your name son?
Peter Grant.
I see that you are scared, don’t be.
I saw these daisies, next to the sidewalk
today is Appreciation Day for
my English Teacher Ms. Stella Davidson.

You’re a thoughtful little boy.
He turn his body in an authority manner, clearing his throat.
Ma’am, you should be ashamed of yourself for
calling the police on a young boy for picking
these daises that belong to the city and not you.
I ought to arrest you for your stupidity,
but I’ll let you off with a warning this time.

The officer looked back at Peter. He says in a cheerful voice,
how would you like to ride with the men in blue,
full blast sirens?
Peter’s eyes widened as he hopped into the backseat of
the police car, seatbelt strapped across his chest,
sirens full blast as though the President was in town.

Tyler Marcil

~ ~ ~ ~

Time Well Traveled

I thought I had more time with her, the caseworker I’d come to like
come to rely on, come to spend an awakening hour with
each Friday, 9ish was the ish like a stylish something.

Often with her, I shared stories and poetry, of our fictional travels, private jets,
homes around the world, humanitarians, subject matters, but more
importantly, a kind woman of gratifying thoughts and compassionate
values, 7 1/2 years, I suppose was long enough. I just thought our unauthorized, orthodox relationship would go on forever.

Forever. What a cliché, right?

When she told me that she and her husband were leaving in two weeks for California, San Diego specifically, right then, I felt this uneasiness,
my chest tightening, tears like waves splashing against the openness of my soul.

I felt compounded like, my heart had been ripped out of me, distinctly leaving a hole big enough for me to drown in my own selfishness.

I was bothered by the spread of this unpopular pain that left me with a slight gaze of helplessness, gasping to hang on because in that uncharted moment of nothingness, I didn’t want to see the brightness of light outside of my inner self.

I was a bit angry, confused, uncertain about my life without the Fridays, 9ish,
the ish like in disheartening.

As she kept talking about her sudden leaving, torn I felt, a billion little pieces, I couldn’t wait until the hour was up, so I could hurry along to the bus stop and get home, the need to get into bed, to control those troubling thoughts bared beneath my soul.

Finally, I arrived home, called my sister to talk about the news received, mouth trembling, my throat dry like a warmer day in the Las Vegas desert. I burst into tears, fell to my knees, then somehow through those tears, after, I settled all that existed before, I wanted to know about my sister’s day, wanted to know if she’d had a chance to search through the string of apartments for a place to rent for her and her family.

She created a space of laughter inside me, referencing her oldest son when he was two years old then. A poem titled, “He Read My Lips Through My Eyes,” I’d written about him, manners checked accordingly when out amongst others. I laughed so hard until all of the heartaches that I was feeling were soon gone away.

I realized then in that very moment that our lives are like the seasons, changing yearly. August 2021, the season for her departure had arrived. And while I will miss those crispy Friday mornings, 9ish with her, she has been the epitome of greatness in my life, her soul well traveled, she and I.

Tyler Marcil

~ ~ ~ ~

Tyler Marcil

My journey with writing started in fall of 2017 under the direction of Scott Driscoll, who often teaches writing through Path With Art. The organization provide classes for people who have ongoing trauma in their life. Each spring and fall before the pandemic, Path With Art held concerts at the Seattle Arts Museum where I have performed written poems or stories to an audience of 300. A year ago, I joined Under The Rainbow Writing Group and EPIC Poetry, where I continue to share poetry. I’m planning to write a novel including a collection of poetry and a play.





    1. I’ve known Tyler for close to ten years. He has shared many stories and heartfelt feelings over these years. Tyler is such a genuine soul and these kind, wonderful feelings are expressed in his writings. I always enjoy reading and re-reading his writings. These here are some of his best!
      Thank You Tyler for sharing‼️
      Most Sincerely,
      Patricia Perron RN

  1. Thx for sharing your compassionate heart and for the beautiful vision for an anti racist police response & world.

  2. Tyler,
    Congratulations on the publication of these poems! They are touching, insightful and they show the range you are developing as a writer. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tyler,
    Keep on keeping on brotha man! Your writing is inspiring. I appreciate your commitment to heartfelt writing. I’m a big fan of your writing, please, do me and all of us tuning in to your words a d continue to bless us with your wisdom.

  4. I love Tyler’s heartfelt observations and unique perspective. Thank you for sharing these pieces, Tyler, and keep on writing!

  5. Hello Tyler….it is wonderful to see your work in print here, after hearing you read with us in the EPIC Poets Group. The last piece about the end of a season with your caseworker touched me in a special way, a reminder of the uniqueness and timeliness of each relationship we are given here. Blessings to you as you continue writing, sharing and growing in your artistic journey and writing. Your voice is desperately needed in our world at this time.

  6. I love the way each poem gives a different glimpse into a moment of the writer’s life. So human. So beautiful.

  7. I loved your poems Tyler. I appreciate your authentic voice, and clean style. You give us beautiful reminders of the importance of compassion and empathy to counter the harshness of life. Your work is very touching..

  8. “ish”… “9ish”, “stylish”, “selfish”, “disheartening”…

    Thank you, Tyler, for publ”ish”ing your graceful poems!

  9. Tyler, your words are those of one of the strongest, bravest, kindest people I know. I am so proud of you for beginning to tell your story. You have much to teach the world. Carry on!

  10. Wonderful work! Three pieces that feel different, and have their own sense of structure. Really enjoyed each of them, and the third one brought it all home.

  11. Dear Tyler,
    I enjoyed reading your poems and traveling with you to all these powerful stories of love, compassion, and care. You are an inspiration.
    With love,

  12. I am so proud of you. As I read your poetry, not only did it touch my heart, but, each scene I was able to visualize as if I was right there. I truly felt as if I was reading a novel. Thank you Tyler for sharing your passion with the world.

  13. Thank you to each and everyone that posted a comment. Your generous thoughts and comments means a lot to me.

    Tyler Marcil

  14. Thank you, Tyler, for taking on these tender issues. I especially like the one about the boy who picks the daisies for his teacher. I’d really like to think that there are cops who would have this level of empathy. Racist aggressions like the woman’s are all too common. Thank you.

  15. Reading your poems is like traveling and we get to experience you a little more each time. Thank you Tyler!

  16. Lovely, Tyler. You have such a talent for intertwining your life experience with your poetry. I look forward to hearing you read your work aloud again as well. Thank you for being you.

  17. Tyler, these poems are so effective, and lingered long after reading. Thank you so much for sharing them with the world!

  18. Hey Tyler…
    Absolutely love the writings. It’s so exciting to me to witness first-hand the healing that comes when you operate in your God-given gift. Your writing is a true testament to how our gifts are not just for a few, but for the world! Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.

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