Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Items At The Checkout \ Hoosier Autumn

Alan:  Since this poem was written, Maine’s motto has evolved from “Vacationland” to “The Way Life Should Be,” and now – by our new Governor’s unofficial decree – “Open For Business.”  Any way you put it, the implications are a bit surreal.
Items At The Checkout
Steak.  Wine.  Cantaloupe.  Brie.
Bremen wafers.  Artichoke hearts.
Catfood.  Paper towels.  Milk.  Eggs.
Corn flakes.  Ivory soap.
The catfood etc is yours.
The steak, wine and so forth
belong to the couple behind you.
When the cashier asks, “Are these all together?”
everyone smiles.  The answer is so obvious.
The store is full of pantsuits, casual jackets,
high heels, well-groomed hair.
You don’t see anyone you know,
anyone smelling of motor oil or
having garden dirt under their nails.
There should be a separate lane for people like you,
a separate store.  Your rusty pickup
shouldn’t wait in the same lot with these
throbbing Winnebagos.  This is summer, and perhaps
you don’t really belong here,
here in Vacationland, America,
Nancy:  The depression: A time of few luxuries, but what I remember is lots of love,  time with my mother and father and simple entertainments.
Hoosier Autumn
My daddy
until he had a son
made do with me  /  my
grandpa wordless but I remember
the sound of black walnuts
we went into the woods we three
the nomad ran in our veins;
except I was a girl
we might be walking still
in Patagonia
but we turned back
and came home
our arms full of pawpaws
“Items At The Checkout” and “Hoosier Autumn” first appeared in Slow Dancer magazine.