Sara Baxter

Waiting for Help at Home Depot


I read that robots are going to steal
all the blue-collar jobs within twenty years. 

We’d better get ready, get creative—
play ukulele on street corners, 

sell haunted panties on eBay. I’m paraphrasing.
I have pretty good hair. I could grow it long, 

tie it off with orange tassels, hawk it
to the basement business that makes wigs

for cancer kids and “living” dolls
that look too much like the little sociopathic

kid next door. I used to get a discount
on gasoline for shopping at Kroger. 

Suddenly, every box of Cheerios
meant so much more. 

I should buy some of these terracotta
gnomes, hock them off in third-world 

markets to rich American tourists
who’ve never needed to wait for help, 

so maybe they won’t notice the markup.
I can see a tall boy outside sweeping 

spilled bags of overpriced feed corn
from the curb, kernels drowning

all the garden gnomes as they stand
and smile in military rows—I’ve forgotten 

what I came here for. As I drop change
into the Salvation Army bucket 

a man asks me to donate blood to a megachurch.
I tell him: “I don’t have enough to give.”


Sara Baxter is a graduate student at Miami University where she will be teaching college English and studying poetry beginning in the fall. Her poems, including the prize-winning poem “My Neighbor Mows His Lawn at Night,” are published in Tributaries (2015), and her poem “Maternal” is published in Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology (2018). She currently lives in Richmond, Indiana with her husband and daughter