In line at the grocery store today
it was nice to see people’s lives laid out
so plainly
At the express checkout you’re limited
to eight items:
a summary of immediate needs and desires

Priorities are revealed;
there’s nothing to hide
People demonstrate a rare honesty,
and there’s no performance
(Except that time I bought
a McCain® Deep’n Delicious® Cake
and a pack of condoms
and posted it to Instagram
and tagged it #datenight)

Really, tho, I only ever come here
to buy booze, it seems
But ahead of me, this woman
she had giant bunches of kale
and tomatoes, and onions
Some real GMO shit
She set it all on the conveyor belt,
and the makings of a feast
lurched towards the cashier
(It must be nice to live like that, I think,
to have a recipe for something)

And behind me, there was a couple
They had frozen meals,
mini cans of ginger ale,
and Lindt chocolates
for a treat after dinner
It was so earnest that I wanted to cry

Between these shopping lists checked off
I had a bottle of rosé
and one can of wheat beer
The bottle was enough;
I don’t know why I bought the can

Josh Sherman is a Toronto-based journalist and editor who also publishes poems and stories. You can read his collected online work at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *