CHECKOUT LINE

Time seems frozen in the checkout line
stuck between the Mars bars
and the tabloids, you wonder
how Liz could survive a total body
liposuction, and further details of how
OJ killed in a moment of lust.
The old woman in front rummages
in her change purse certain she has
the eighty-seven cents, the coins
lost in a blue haze reflected off her hair.
Two aisles over the young mother
her jaw clenched in frustration
keeps putting the life savers back
on the shelf as her child, fidgeting
in the cart grabs another roll, until
she shouts and slaps his hand.
His cry draws stares from all and she
stares at the floor as he grabs
a Three Musketeers and Certs.
A man in the express line swears
that the apples were marked 89 cents
and wants to see the manager
who calmly explains that Granny Smiths
are a dollar twenty-nine and only small
Macintoshes are on sale this week.
He puts the bag on the scale
and stalks out of the store.
I would shift to the express lane
but I have 16 items and must
continue to wait and wonder
how many incisions it would take
for a full body liposuction.


First Appeared in Kimera, Vol. 3, No.2, Winter 1998.

DARLING’S MANTRAS

You are two
and you laugh
for everything is funny
or can be, if you just tilt
your head a certain way
or wag a finger at it.
The cat watches
from behind the sofa
with a knowing gaze.
For you food is
as much a toy
as words are food
and you cannot imagine
why we old ones
are so blind to the obvious.
There are an infinite number
of sides to a ball
and you want to see all of them
or some, until they roll off
and you want to cry
at their loss, until
a leaf lands at  your feet
and you giggle at the tree
for being so clumsy,
it is a mommy like yours
with one sock falling
from her laundry basket
as she carries it downstairs.
You hand me a block
and expect me
to construct a dream.