The Corner Store

They called him a dirty Jew
and spat when they said it.
They only went to his store, they said,
because it was so close.
They said his prices were higher than the others.
But my mother, who saved every penny
and who would have walked the extra block to another,
always crossed the street to his.

He had a funny accent,
but his floor was always clean
and his produce shiny and wet from the garden sprayer.
He slipped us mints when we came in for our mothers,
buying eggs or spices or the newest women’s magazines.
We ate the mints right away,
because we were afraid
of what our fathers would do if they knew.

They called him a Christ-killer.
Our mothers would’ve washed out our mouths
if we had used the words they used when saying that.
But he never looked that old to me,
because Christ was crucified a long time ago.
And I never understood why it was his fault only,
when the sisters told us Christ died for everyone’s sins.
I thought that Christ died for love,
but they spoke with hate.

I always think of the corner store when I have a mint.

The Corner Store


North Olmsted, United States

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 1

Artist's Description

I really went outside of myself for this one – I picture this as being written by someone raised Catholic in a large city several decades ago, and surrounded by anti-semitic men. Not so much me – I was raised by “tolerant” Protestants in suburbia. But it expresses something that I had on my heart at the time. Christianity has a long history of persecuting (or turning a blind eye to the persecution of) the Jews. So, this is me trying to show not every Christian has their head up their arse.

Artwork Comments

  • yahshanti
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