They Call it Drafting Because You Have to Draw up a Sketch Before You Can Build the Bungalow

–a first draft

My wife and I are shopping at Costco
trying to fill the needs of a preschool.
We have one cart and I refuse to go back for another
even though we need ten cubic feet of meat
three five pound bags of frozen chicken breasts
twelve loaves of bread
a box of baby wipes big enough to hold the baby
strawberries for ourselves
ten stories of toilet paper
mixed fruit in cans that can only be opened with a crowbar
a gallon of salsa
cereal sealed in boxes as bulky as dumpsters
an hour down each aisle
back to the produce back to canned goods
we forgot the mayo — we don’t need any mayo and soon
the cart is creaking
the wheels burning through grease in the bearings
and I think the cart has gotten smaller
and I wonder how I would install power steering on a shopping cart
as we push it together to the counter
lay our needs on the conveyor belt
the cheese and beans and paper cups
napkins plates forks frozen false meat molded
into simplified dinosaurs
and the clerk dares to ask if we want boxes
as if keeping the cart weren’t an option
taking it home and crawling inside
with a blanket and pillow
to dream about mandarine stars
a goat cheese moon that melts into bunched branches of broccoli
but it was never a question
it’s boxes or nothing and already
the box lady is arranging cans next to cans
frozen vegetables with frozen chicken
and then like an accelerating electron
she is gone from her post
plowing through shoppers to a young woman
no one knew was important
a porcelain teacup of a woman
with ears as perky as catnip sprouts
a slender noodle a rice paper wafer
swallowed up in the box lady’s body
engulfed in a monsoon dressed in blue and yellow
whose presence drives time in circles
and I forget where I am
the price tag rises without me and the cashier needs
something I don’t hear and wouldn’t have
and now I’m boxing on auto
toilet paper on top of sliced cheese
frozen nuggets next to baby wipes and bleach
my attention pulled to the woman and the molecule she embraces
this woman whose body is a house without doors
whose face is a pearl
too big for one clam
whose smile is nearly lost in the balloons of her cheeks
and now she’s coming back to her work
her heart beating her body
her chest a tide that rises and falls
leaving starfish stuck to her shirt
sea squirts mopping the floor
and I tell her I could use a hug like that
and she gives it to me
crushes me into a singularity
stretched outside of space and time
a brief simple human embrace that breaks us apart
rips us into our fundamental particles
quirky curls that make their own laws
and don’t exist long enough to see.

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2 thoughts on “They Call it Drafting Because You Have to Draw up a Sketch Before You Can Build the Bungalow

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