Align

Align

Try my luck
No.
Run.
I could do just a little
No.
Run.
Heart begs please
Head screams leave
How can a person
possibly be one person—
with the begging and the screaming?
God, why?!
Like a piece of paper torn in half,
I am piecing the two together
Now is the time for you
to finally align


Z

Aisle 11

Aisle 11

Glass shatters
A child shouts, OOPS
No-one else around to do it
I must go assess the mess
Inhale.
Lucky me!

A boy and his mother
and a jar of tomato sauce—
splattered across Aisle 11

Exhale.
How can I be mad
at this adorable child?
It was only an accident!
You can tell by his face

In fact, I remember a time
when I was a little boy
and I broke a jar of sauce
I thought I would never recover
until I looked up at and saw
my Grandmother—
she and I were shopping
together—
Her eyes were wide open
But she smiled

Alone in his mess.
Alone in my mess.
A mother smiles.
A grandmother smiled.

Shaking my head—
I smile—
We both live on Isle 11
Not strangers.
Repdigit.


11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11
-Z






Aisle 10



Aisle 10

Down Aisle 10 she heads

Never had she any issue
being pulled toward the
heart’s worst enemy

She looks over to the right: 
The Imposter is on the cover!
Of course shining in front
of all the magazines

What an inspiration!
Such a lady to adore!
She really is a warrior!
No disaster could swallow her!

Until Truth revealed  
the cracks
Tragically—
it was all a show 


Our girl exhales 
and leaves The Face behind

Neither the first time—
Nor the last time—
she would face the loss
of her inspiration


Pushing her cart 
without a hero
she goes back
again

to Isle 10


-Z

 

Aisle 4



Aisle 4

Something very naughty is
happening amongst the sweets
Check out the shady lady, searching
for a special secret down Aisle 4

A container of chocolate chip cookies
is hidden, stealthily beneath the sheets
Paper plates, light bulbs, and everything
is only there, so nobody will see

The husband is a diabetic
But, she will always love her sugar!
She puts away the groceries and
locks herself behind a door
The pantry is her portal
to heaven on Isle 4


-Z

 

 

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