by Rachel Lawhon Powers
Mr. Edwards was the shop manager of Kelly’s Market in Scranton in the late 1980s. His story was known to those of us who worked there. As fewer and fewer survivors of the Holocaust remain alive, his memory is worth sharing.
The store manager shuffles as he sweeps the front walk
Shooing a stray dog outside Kelly’s Market
on the corner of Wyoming Avenue and New York
Behind the county jail
Mr. Edwards had seen worse incarceration
He speaks haltingly, “I don’t like dogs. They scare me.”
He rolls up his sleeve to show us the numbers
Seared black against his white skin.
He studies the receipts each shift
He watches the cashiers and scolds the boys stocking cans
So much meat and cheese to display
special orders to fill
He remembers the old country
the lines for bread with never enough food
He eluded death many times
A continent away from the menacing dog.