To The Man In the Teal Jacket

To the man in the teal jacket

stocking the frozen vegetables

As you have done week after week

month after month

The man in the teal jacket 

with the disposable mask

that usually sits

just below your nose

so that it is exposed

to all 

who walk the aisle

and shop in the store

and work in the store


the same air

that you are inhaling 


through your nose

Last week

After being silent 

I asked

Please cover your nose

You did

You walked away

I continued on

I returned

there you were

mask BELOW your nose

Which says so much

Today I looked for you 

I walked down that aisle

so many employees working

masks on

caring for themselves 

and for others

perhaps without even knowing it

Then I saw you

the man in the teal jacket

mask on your CHIN

Nose exposed

The ONLY mouth I saw 

Last week I spoke to a manager

Today I spoke to another

There is a man, I said

wearing a teal jacket


in the frozen food aisle

with a mask

on his chin

I am angry


a little Scared

I think of those I know




who ARE


who ARE


who cannot TASTE those frozen vegetables

that you are stocking

who cannot SMELL them when they cook

who STRUGGLE to take a breath

Their faces flash before me

Who do you think of

man in the teal jacket

as you stock the frozen vegetables

It cannot be those you work with


(are they your friends?)

It cannot be those who walk the aisles



Who do you think of?

What do you think of?

This is no game

The rules exist 

for ALL

Necessity is safety

This is no sham

This is life NOW

Why do you not

value it


To the man in the teal jacket

will you cry

when someone you love

gets sick

or dies

What if it is you

man in the teal jacket

What if it is YOU?


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