Stephanie Brown
Allegory of the Supermarket

Procession of death,

Day-glo death,

Potato death,

Death of strawberry,

Death strapped into a handi-six-pack

Death in vodka, scotch, the vitamin-fortified cigarette cough.

Juice of cow in a box,

Broccoli piled up man-felled trees

How long have I been in here?

Our faces look left, right, slow, so slow, so sleepy

We reach for the non-fat,

The boxes of breadsticks, the round glue of pregnancy.

No one ever says, really, anything.

Plastic bags from the roll rippp

Let's grab a lettuce from the stacks of lettuce,

Bee in the bonnet on the label of the jar of honey,

Darling: the non-world-yellow cheese,

the price,

the size chosen by a stranger's desire,

for my teeth.

Box of food for the pet at home, standing in our kitchen.

The shelves of canned fruit, yellow bullets of mustard jars

The piles of onions, the dusty garlic piles,

The triangular figure of tomatoes,

The baskets we lay our deaths down in

Fetching cans of halos.

Cry into your toliet paper,

your spray starch.

your light bulbs and lobsters in tanks near the cashier's booth

their claws held together by rubber bands

Cry into that water

Fish belly up on the Styrofoam surfaces

in refrigeration

headless feetless chickens

Turkeys across the aisle, lookalike big bodies, frozen.

Shelves of bread loaves like big leather shows of sad old clerks

not like

the smell of yeast and life's

an open wound, festering, and a feast of fools.

No dignity, my darling, 

in these last three hours of the world.

Found In Volume 25, No. 04
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Stephanie Brown
About the Author

Stephanie Brown is the author of Domestic Interior (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Allegory of the Supermarket (University of Georgia Press).  Her poems and essays have appeared in many recent anthologies.  She was awarded and NEA Fellowship in 2001.