21 Nov 2018 poem

Ten Items or Less

A man of letters purchases fruit
at the mid-block bodega.

The avocados are ripe by the Spanish sign,
but rock hard by the English sign.

He ponders if this is a political statement
or subtle revenge for old west wrongs.

The man picks through the apples,
seeks stickers with U S A, not Chile, not New Zealand.

You may think his pickiness is politics or nationalism,
but it is a health concern

that apples on oceanic cargo ship voyages
have faded all their vitamins into sugars with aging.

The lettuce he choses lives in a clamshell.
The nuts are almonds—a half scoop slivered.

At the checkout, chocolate displays temptation.
He reads ingredient lists before choosing—

as long as there is no corn syrup in any manner
and it is sixty-five to seventy-two percent cacao

he will give it a try
no matter the manufacturer or branding.

copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney


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