2022 Issue  >  Poetry  >  Grocery God

It Went to Toothpicks.jpg
"It Went to Toothpicks" by Jeff Weiland

Grocery God

Lisa Chu

Up close, 

your linoleum reflection

is a bit blurry and scuffed.

You feel every bit as walked over as your reflection,

every Nike and Payless stiletto itch at your cheeks.

Amongst dust bunnies and dirt specks

in the Walmart candy aisle,

you’ve been caressing a bag of Krave cereal,

breastfeeding it Porter’s All-American Whiskey,

licking at your tears to sober up.

Heartbroken by the twenty-seventh love of your life,

you’ll take that check-out boy if he makes eye-contact,

but he doesn’t 

because you’re sitting on the ground

with a bag of soggy cereal 

that smells either like sweet piss or chocolate,

and he’s too afraid it might be both.

God watches within the body of a lost four-year-old,

who’s drifted into the aisle of sweet temptations,

observing the downfall of man.

 

Amputating love, 

you placed a tourniquet 

around your heart,

numbed yourself with the 

spicy hot anesthetic of whiskey,

and pacified the bitter loneliness 

with comforts of chocolatey Krave cereal.

Sweet lovesick surgeon,

this surgery 

might take years 

to seal and stitch

every crack in your beating heart.

 

Krave cereal has always been good.

Mr. No. 27 doesn’t change that.

Christmas lights and starburst-colored tulips still make you smile.

You still trace constellations

with February fingers 

and smell dawn before you wake.

Of course, it hurts in such ways 

that there should be some undiagnosed hole in your body!

Of course, time seems elongated and sadistic!

 

You’ll realize 

sunsets are fuchsia gold, 

and looking at the stars 

makes you feel as if you are being 

dangled by your ankles.

And you’ll wonder as you look 

down into the night,

Does everything happen for a reason?

Is there a parallel universe where things turn out differently?

Was there one specific choice that led down this path?

 

The four-year-old stares and drools

a long drop of saliva reflecting your mascara tracks.

Perhaps if they one day face their twenty-seventh breakup, 

they’ll inexplicably think of the Walmart candy aisle.

 

And then 

everyone’s staring at you in aisle 7.

Lisa Chu is an introverted performer of life. She aims to retire early from her lifelong career as a people-pleasing normie to pursue a new path of baring her naked truth through poetry. A forlorn lover of sunsets and Krave cereal, she is driven by her unsatiated hunger for self-discovery.

Jeff Weiland graduated from UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County in the 1980's and has always enjoyed photography.