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Poetry by Lisa Loop

Grocery Outlet

I saw Shakespeare’s sister outside the Gross Out

She was selling cassette tapes from bands I’d never heard of

Nursing a baby wrapped in bright flannel like a scar.

I called out, hey didn’t I see you at Folklife, near the Bubbleator, selling caramel fudge?

She laughed, toothless,

That wasn’t me, I’m respectable.

I handed her a disinfecting wipe for her tears.

Can you hold him? She checked the bundle,

My shift is starting.

I thought, I can do this one thing, though my mother is still underwater from all her helping and I don’t think I can swim hard enough to catch up.

The sister, I think she said her name was Sheila, tied a polyester apron.

Feed him. Feed him all you got.

My breasts thought about it, the letting down, the hungry belly.

In the blanket were pages, half written and smudged, some so old they crumbled to dust in my arms.

How am I supposed to keep this alive? I said.

But the cash register was ringing, bags were filling with off brand beer and crispy chips.

So no one heard.

Lisa Loop

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