J to the Checkout Lane. J to Checkout

by J. Larry

“I want to kill myself,”
I mumbled in the soft suicide
Aisle of the CVS.
Lay’s are half off, 2 for 1
Off myself in half the time, I suppose?
And look at these great, fan
crafted flavors.
Open-casket. Elliott-Smith-ending.
I opted for the He-had-so-much-potential
and a bag of Ruffles.
I’m a sucker for those ridges.
At the checkout,
I fell in love with the girl
before me. She had denim sleeves,
a voice that baltered, and,
hair like—
I know this is a cliché in poems but her hair really was like straw, all saffron and dried by the sinking September sun, it was so much like straw that when she turned around, we fell in love. And when she introduced herself, we fell in love and when I told her that I would never remember her name we fell in love and I said Well I’ll just call you Scarecrow How about that, she was okay with that and we traveled to Rome and fucked for the first time on the steps to some ancient tourist trap and I howled Oh Scarecrow, oh Scarecrow and she was so silent I almost forgot she was there until she thanked me after with this quivering voice, a quivering Grazie that came spilling out her nose, drowned me in heavy ecstacy like I was on opiates again and that, that I will never forget. When we came back stateside and rented a ramshackle apartment on the southside (the southside of where, I’m still unsure), years passed. We got married and fucked and had children and fucked still, but never let our children know that their parents loved each other for fear they’d be teased by those with no-longer-in-love parents. Years passed, again. We built a life in that checkout lane. Did she fall out of love with me when I told her that I didn’t have time anymore? I had to eat this bag of He-had-so-much-potential and if she wanted to share them with me, she could, I would never die if she shared them with me, though we’d both be in agony for an eternity. I waited for her response. The cashier prattled on, I can help whoever’s next I can help whoever’s next I can— Her friend clap-clapped the toes of her flats against the market tile. Scarecrow looked at her and then to me and I looked at Rome, our children, those first months as empty nesters when we kept doors to the kids’ rooms closed, Scarecrow and me sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N- her mother’s death, burned casseroles, the dead smeared across the highway and the hood of our car, and all of those times I was pissing at the toilet and I looked down at my penis, lacquered in goo, and the cold knockout of knowing it had just been inside her. When I looked back to Scarecrow, well, she hadn’t looked away. She said I have class tomorrow and I said But it’s Friday. Can’t you just play hookie, but I guess there was some big standardized test or something that would make or break the rest of her life and, sorry, but she really couldn’t miss it.
I walked home.
Crossed the street,
saw a small man in the street
crossing the other way
and he looked into the car headlights
the way Scarecrow looked at me
and the way I’m looking
at the last
of the Lay’s. There
is noir powder
now coating the
dimples of my finger
tips, sable salt
under my
nails and I’m
licking them

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