The Organic Food Store

(Apostrophe to William Carlos Williams)

Whitman’s been seen at the supermarket,
but this is homey, more part
of America’s grains—how clearly

the wooden register rings for miso
and spiced tofu, how unblemished
the oval faces in line biting into

dried apples and sampling sesame bars
with honey. They are the . . . sea salt
of the earth—they must be:

the sturdy woman at the vitamins smiling
natural sex through the store, her breasts
are brown pears: she lifts, she glides

through bottles of rose hips and brewer’s
yeast on sandals. In her presence, the
celery stalks would not think of wilting.

Or examine the aisles of packages:
the only preservative is lowly lemon oil,
barely rubbed over pine boards

and knotty shelves of beans. Even
the exposed brick has been steamed
only until clean. Dulse in rain barrels!

spring water. It is the poetry of eating,
plums and all, It’s the anarchy of rice
and onions and peppers standing up

to meat and potatoes and winning. It
would delight you, the crush, the beat; for
while you grinned at sets of sound teeth

chewing carrot pieces to pulp, while you
watched expectant mothers grinding
peanut butter by hand—you would know

language was being rescued from having
too many words for disease: cancer,
colitis, diabetes, etc., and that they were

spreading the rejections in the best oral
tradition of Homer: beat the seas white
with their oars, paddles in molasses,

charka, okra, share a land’s roots, we are
going home, we’re on a holy diet, a
blessed voyage; bee pollen, ginseng, chard—

Let the wind catch the canvas of our bags,
cleanse our skin, acidophilus and algae,
as we sail through the streets, homeward.

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