When I used to shop at Food Lion,
I felt closest to my mother,
clipping coupons, trying to buy
only what was on sale.
I’d pass up
the Fuji apples for Golden Delicious,
stock up on boxes of Corn Chex
and cans of chicken noodle soup,
even ignore the firm tofu
that lingered in produce
next to the greens
no one buys.
But the last time I shopped there,
the short stout woman hugged
the last twelve pack of toilet paper close
before placing it with the other one in her cart.
She steered her cart down the aisle of empty shelves
to grab dank greens and the last tofu
as I could only watch.
Marianne Szlyk's most recent book is Poetry en Plein Air (Pony One Dog Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in Verse-Virtual, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Sligo Journal, and other journals/websites. Some poems have been translated into Polish, Italian, and Cherokee.