Aisle 9



Aisle 9

Tugs away at wiry black hairs
underneath his jaw—clenched tight

Lifts his head up, uncomfortably
Thank God I know a thing or two about cards!
He chose a hilarious birthday card just fine
But, our bearded buddy isn’t so sure to win—
when choosing wines down Aisle 9

I think I’ve had that Montepulciano!
Probably best to grab a Rosé.
Don’t all girls love pink wines?
I wish I could just bring beer.

*By the way, the host is a sommelier.


Today, he refuses to play the game
and risk offending a dear friend

The bag he carries is a half-glass
He lays down his safe card
on a complicated table 
The House wins again
on Isle 9

-Z








 

Aisle 8

Aisle 8 

Look—everything was perfectly fine
until the frickin’ DJ of Aisle 8 decides
the bottles of olive oil and vinegar,
stacks of tuna fish and whatever
weren’t put up exactly the way he does
Do you know he calls us Whippersnappers?

He’s always sucking his teeth and complaining
Not that song again!
The store never plays one single song 
he isn’t dying to turn down
That’s why I call him The DJ

You tell him I said “Thanks a lot”
His DJ days are over!
It’s about time he retires 
and buys a sweet place
on Isle 8


-Z

Aisle 2



Aisle 2

Not a 10.
Not a 1.
Not the smartest.
What would they say?

I see her trying to figure out
which bottle is the perfect one
out of all the diet pills we offer
on the shelves of Aisle 2

She’s probably in 8th grade
and willing to do
whatever she thinks girls do
who don’t live

on Isle 2

Z

 

Aisle 6



Aisle 6 

2 of chicken
3 of tuna
2 of turkey with gravy
3 of a seafood blend

He was collecting 10 cans
of cat food on Aisle 6
There was a coupon he’d clipped
for a good deal—if you buy 10
Carefully, he cradled the cans 
stacked in 2 rows of 5
In my opinion, he should have
grabbed a shopping cart

He tried to hurry
but was halted
by the magnetism 
of toys
She deserves the world
he thought
and then
recalled
what the cashier said
the last time he was in:

Sometimes the best things choose us
6 words he loved
and made so much sense
to him

He paid and then left
with his own reusable bag
Back to the castle 
where a queen lives
and rules Isle 6
-Z






 

 

Aisle 5

Aisle 5 

She’s got a nickel
scratching, scratching
scratching away 
with her daddy’s 
Lucky Buffalo—
a circle of silver
steady beating
in her
scratchin’ hand

Bottom lip flapping
above her upper lip,
I find myself cheering
for the gambling woman
I see down Aisle 5

I have so many carts 
ready to be filled here—
for our new life
Oh, I’ll be moving shortly after
she buys Isle 5


-Z

Aisle 1



Aisle 1 

A man picked up a bottle
It was just the two of us
there on Aisle 1
He examined the label
I was working only a few feet away
stocking razors on a shelf
Go fucking figure!
I heard him clear as day
I stopped what I was doing
He looked over my way
and he said
Now! you people decide
to carry this shit!
SPF…whatever the fuck
Then we locked eyes
and he said to me,
If a woman ever tells you
to go back for this bottle 
of freakin’ dumbass sunscreen
and you already had
everything else planned,
packed, and ready
back at home—
Go on that trip alone

Lay your ass out in the sun 
without this damn lotion
Get yourself burned!
…with no wife…
I put down the box of blades
to give him his space 
He clearly needed a moment
with a bottle of SPF 30 sunscreen
on Isle 1


-Z