A Bargain at Any Price
Daily I go to the carpet warehouse.
The men think I can’t make up my mind.
But the truth is, I’ve fallen in love
with the young ex-football player
who lights the dingy room with his hair.
Even machines can’t help him add,
so we spend hours figuring and refiguring
costs—pad and labor, stairs and tax,
his patient golden head bent over the numbers,
the muscles in his arms reflecting shadows
like water under summer clouds.
Each time he starts the motor on the forklift,
slowly pushing that long steel rod
into the center of a roll, then
lifting it out for me to see, Oh—
it’s as if an inner sky were opening,
and all the hazy calculations
fall like stars into my heart.
by Susan Ludvigson
from Northern Lights
Louisiana State University Press, 1981