As mother pushes the cart down the aisle,
wheels creaking against the shiny
vinyl flooring, we skirted between
wandering legs to grab at forbidden sweets
like thieves, too careful in keeping our fingers clean.
There is always an element of artificiality
in the perfectly arranged shelves —
goods sitting like dolls, begging for consumption,
for movement, the same way that mother
is feeling the plastic wrap for an opening,
an escape. The cart is always rolling forward.
Grocery store taught us about supply and demand,
this concept of hunger like gilded coins
slowly rolling in the bottom of our bellies.
We are fish with dead eyes,
staring and frozen, as if begging God for release.
As if begging for another ocean because
we couldn’t swallow ours whole.
Too often this country has told us,
if you feel like you’re about to crash, accelerate faster.
So mother accelerates the cart down the aisle,
empty. Watches it careen off the sides
uncontrollably, blindly searches the unknown.
Cindy Song is a rising freshman at Princeton University. Her poetry has previously appeared in Words Dance, Cicada Magazine, Noble Gas Quarterly, and elsewhere. Besides writing, Cindy enjoys taking long walks in nature and looking at dessert recipes.