Stephen Fuller *** Poetry, Essays

One Way Aisle, a COVID poem

 At my grocery store there is only one way 
Through the produce section.
Make a mistake passing the apples
And you are stuck outside the garden
Wondering if you even want to navigate

Backwards to pick up the ginger you don’t
Really need. But shallots,
One should always have shallots,
And my pantry’s mesh bag reported their absence
When I made the apple butter marinade for the sablefish.

When I figure out the flow of the grocery store
I have accomplished a thing that unriddles
An anxiety that presents itself, magnified if hungry,
In the produce section. I want to try every exotic fruit;
But they’ll spoil before I get around to the durian.

What does this old man think he is doing!?
These are one way aisles and I pushed past green
When he pushed past red. He doesn’t care,
Mask barely clinging to his nose by a hair,
Plenty more if that one plucked brings him tears.

He stops and stares right through me daring me to move
First, but in doing sees the soul I am trying to grow
In the horseshit I spread out across the old, hole-filled.
He yields the aisle, knowing the weight my basket will carry
Until I check out.

She looks at the peanut butters, wondering why in some
Organics the oils separate and in others, not?
What is the real difference between skip and jiffy?
And now the almond and cashew and others.
I can see the grandson in her eye not caring which.

But she lingers wider than six feet on each side
I want to reach through her
Grab my Peter Pan and fly away,
Shadowless, even half way to Neverland
Would be far enough from here

This land we never wanted.
I will have to navigate back
For both peanut butter and shallots.
Maybe next time I will bring headphones
So you can walk down the aisle with me.

Not that an aisle is what I need to walk down.
When that grumpy old man meets that decision-
Starved lady, it might remind me of the reason
I should have stayed away from the double stuffs
And gotten the apple, it’s flesh firm and tart

Like the first apple I sunk my teeth into.

(C) 2020 Stephen Fuller

12 Responses to “One Way Aisle, a COVID poem”

    • Stephen

      Thanks Eugi, it was fun to write. And yes… grocery delivery seems like one of those covid novelties that are like… why did this take so long!



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