[even as we close / i leave / they shutter the shop]
wood framed doors bear signs written by/of hand in sharpie font. streaks & smudges of black/red/blue ink. greetings / all are welcome / open for business / we are / sale. hammers knock. plywood covers. affronts on grammar. all grammar welcome. bargains to/of/for the people. the community. comrades always at war. most wars unseen. series of quips, quirks, and quiet pleadings with no sound. stretched scotch tape [now curled] a mask for the emptiness within. of spaces where shopkeepers [early risers/bakers/stockers] [late night fillers/checkers/supervisors] hang/hung chimes over doors [like mistletoe] now unhinged / dangled goods, goodies, goblins, and giveaways [hard & soft] [of chocolate candy, peppermint twist, & and salt-water taffy nuggets] i carry you / as [the memory of] you carry me [beat, pump, pulse, drift] across/over/thru moons of many moments. feet squash faded W.E.L.C.O.M.E.[s]
Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of Invisible Ink (pre-order at Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming, Atmosphere Press).
George L Stein is a photographer living in the greater NYC area focused on street, art, urban and rural decay, alt/portrait, and surreal photographic genres. He has been published in a number of literary magazines such as Fatal Flaw, NUNUM, and the Toho Journal this year. His work is online at http://georgelstein.com and on instagram – @steincapitalmgmt.