I Love You, Rite Aid!

by Austin Beaton

And it’s not only the dollar aisle
or because you gave birth control 
to a couple ex-girlfriends
or how you fed me Lexapro,
a pill Kanye West rapped about
in a studio probably not far
from a Rite Aid in Los Angeles.
Not just that five bucks
buys me and a millionaire
the same serotonin droplets
spreading under the part of the scalp
soft on a baby,
a chemical that tells me I’m me
returning like a rabbit angel
with a cartoon halo
floating back into
near-corpse Bugs Bunny
so he can keep eating carrots
and talk like he’s from New York,
& I can enjoy the smell of gasoline,
the beauty of an extra paper clip
given by a colleague
or finding beach rocks and agates
shaped like Nebraska.
It’s not only the reliability
of my favorite cashier,
a ketchup red vest
like the fun aunt at Christmas
or the palm tree parking lot,
the oranges glowing 
out the black branches,
magneting the light
from your Pluto blue sign
like something that’d happen
between a moon and a star.
It isn’t primarily the ice cream
I never eat but glad is there for others
like Christianity and Botox,
or the bananas I don’t buy
because I’m not sure I always 
want to be good to myself
but would give it all away
for a little familiarity.
I could move to a new state,
lose my mind or lover
then visit any of the 4600
drug stores
and the heels spin
on the driveway back home
from the mailbox,
an anybody American
boogie-ing down aisle 6
under bars of fluorescent,
the industrial hum
and same anxiety
a pharmacy can soften.
Rite Aid, I love you
and a stranger also
with your store membership
is asking, what am I shopping for today?
Who misses me?
How much does it matter
when I don’t trust myself?

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