by Tobi Alfier
Down the long aisle he walks,
past beans, soup, rice, pasta,
canned things better bought fresh
along the outer edges, toward the
woman at the end scooping
chocolate covered peanuts into
a small plastic bag. He sees her
look up. He says hello.
She says hello back. Emboldened,
he says how are you. She says
fine how ‘bout yourself. He says
fine and keeps walking.
She sees the cane in his cart,
notices a small limp as he moves on
to the dairy aisle, she doesn’t know
if it’s permanent or the result
of some dramatic injury. He feels
handsome, and successful that she spoke
to him, even though he is broken. She thinks
about how she cannot feel her toes,
how we all bear one thing or another. She feels
pretty, and desirable because he spoke to her.
She looks for him again but she has a long list, he
must have had a short list. Maybe she shops
from right to left and he from left to right, she
does not see him in the store again.
She sees him in the parking lot. They both drive Hondas.
But she doesn’t continue the conversation, it will
most probably lead to disappointment.
The handsome man and desirable woman
drive away separately, each congratulating themselves
on a successful shopping excursion.
* * * * *
"Saturday Afternoon" was first published by Hot Metal Press (2006) and is part of Tobi Alfier's poetry collection Sanity Among the Wildflowers (republished by Cholla Needles Press, 2019).
Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies was published by Cholla Needles Press. Symmetry: earth and sky is forthcoming in May from Main Street Rag. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).