Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Shopping Carts

Two Shopping Carts

In the freezer aisle,
flanked by broccoli

and waffle fries, two
shopping carts. The one

near the vegetables
holds Roma tomatoes, 

lemons, dark roast
ground coffee, brownie

mix, peanut butter,
wheat bread, paper towels.

The other has only
eggs, vanilla cupcakes

from the bakery, and
frozen peas. A purse

sits in the fuller cart,
near the handle, where

a baby could go. As we
approach the carts,

the bulbs in the cases
on either side of us

stir, cough up light
one case at a time,

like a sidewalk that
responds to feet by

glowing where we
step. In a big country,

dreams stay with you,

the song is “In a Big

Country” and the band
is called Big Country.


  1. a surreal scene, coming upon this public american interior that feels deserted, as if the products have a life of their own and human presence would be superfluous ... an archeology of motivations and intentions ... the ending is perfect, the phrase "big country" taking on new connotation with each repetition ....

  2. This makes me both smile/laugh and grow thoughtful.

    That silly song, it's always on in my grocery store, too. My sister had the 45 single, and I remember holding it and thinking how weird "Big County, In a Big Country". I had just learned to read, and thought I was reading something twice on accident.

  3. Again, I love it. I, too, observe what other people are buying--6 apples, 2 avocados, three boxes of noodles.

    You capture the surreal quality of a grocery store perfectly. I am reminded of a friend who came from Russia a few decades ago and started sobbing in the grocery store. The choices, she said, were terrifying.

  4. You create the store beautifully. I love the coughing up of light. I get taken by the music in grocery stores sometimes....

  5. I laughed when I read "cough up light." So true.

    I'm still trying to figure out how that image and this poem go together. You should give us some hints!


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