At a Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, as I side eye half of Whole Foods,
my blood sugar rising like Mercury in retrograde

In my hangry fatigue, celestial figures text me if I don’t stop munching hallucinogenic
mushrooms and add some leafy, green vegetables to my diet I am not going to get any thinner.

God the cost of these locavore peaches! Whole gluten-free families roam the aisles while
husbands sneak off on the DL to swallow a loaf of French bread! and was that Lorca inhaling an
entire bag of hot dog flavored chips?

Or it might have been you, Walt Whitman, as you supplement your majestic poet’s income by in
late shifts of ponderous embarkments into capitalism Capitolism!

I heard you ask questions of each shopper: Where is the moon’s penis? Were you the guy who
lost his generation’s mind earlier? Is this bag your own bag? Should I leave the coconut water

You were like some food Columbo, (and there you were—wearing his suspicious rain coat)
moaning on about one more question as the cantaloupes shook with visible rage

That raincoat came in mighty handy, as far as those cans of over-priced organic artichokes were
concerned. Shop-lifter of souls! Shrinkage monitor of
the Eternal! Through the loudspeakers of the cosmos I weep the blues of cheese

Also: Where are we going, Walt Whitman? Also: I don’t think this place is open past nine on a
Sunday. Also: Why are these supplements locked in a case like drugs unless they are drugs?

(I pick up a magazine dumbstruck by the string cheese of possibilities that ppl actually read these glossies that cost a flophouse night)

We walk, arm in armed robbery, in this neighborhood—where do Whole Paycheck shoppers
afford to have set off the alarms of dreams & visions? The sky flashes a bag boy!

O let me be your beard, not that you need one, ok, it just a suggestion, yes, I get it–too weird.

I am lonely as the nothing that rhymes with orange.

Walt, patron saint of revision, extreme coupon-snipper of my soul, where is the American
section in the grocery of our consciousness? Are we only sad seekers of Italian or Japanese? Are
we lonely impossible burgers made possible by standing across from Safeway, holding this
plastic bag of pesticide-free oranges even though nature actually has a pretty good covering for
oranges already

Oranges! Oranges! Oranges!

Merridawn Duckler is a writer from Oregon, author of INTERSTATE (dancing girl press) and IDIOM (Washburn Prize, Harbor Review.) New work in Seneca Review, Women’s Review of Books, Interim, Posit, Plume. Fellowships/awards include Yaddo, Southampton Poetry Conference, Poets on the Coast. She’s an editor at Narrative and at the philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.

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