By Christine Redman-Waldeyer
Supermarket in NJ pre-Covid
“No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” ~Yogi Berra
At entry one is welcomed by the clementines,
the grapes in shades of red and green,
granny apples or Macintosh.
Steer a little left
and there are the deeper forest greens
of broccoli, arugula, spinach,
aim towards the middle
for the reddest of tomatoes,
fingerling potatoes, purple onion.
Always stop at the carrots
bunched by their tops,
a treat for your son’s pet bunny
for a bag of unsalted peanuts.
In this maze,
we ride the cart singing
of hot dogs and bologna,
pass by the organic isle,
stop at poultry,
pause before the glaze
of honey roasted chickens
tanning under heat lamps
to the cold air rising
to meet us at the butcher,
in the milk, egg, and cheese byway.
There are memories
of tantrums appeased
by the 99 cent matchbox cars,
one car for each meltdown,
a collection that added up
to an overflow of metallic colors,
remnants of long-lasting toddler years.
There are memories
of gumball and lottery vending machines
after urging weekly items
onto a conveyer belt,
collected quarters and dollar bills.
I had nearly forgotten
this rite of passage, distanced
by a tidal wave of pandemic,
as this curser hovers
over one-dimensional food items
ticking off the “darkest days of winter.”
Walking the Boards
“I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.” ~Babe Ruth
When Jennifer and I walk the boardwalk,
that gray asphalt of it;
not the step on step that splintering
that other feet succumb to
but that of my shore town
we talk, we gossip, we release all
our sisters do and don’t do,
all our fathers said but didn’t mean,
all our mothers’ sidestepping,
review the rows of cottages,
now towering lighted fish tanks,
wonder at the lives
behind the glass
that Sandy blew wide open
that no shades or shutters hide,
that no fortress rebuilt of dune can promise.
We breath in and out,
sometimes in and out into masks,
now Covid, now April.
She will tease me
because I must not only do two laps
back and forth to constitute something
that means exercise,
something that says we are being healthy
but at my need to touch the edge of the route,
a foot tapping of the rickety fence,
a hand upon a steel cold handrail
that marks a departure.
Christine Redman-Waldeyer (https://www.pw.org/directory/writers/christine_redmanwaldeyer) is a poet and Associate Professor of English in Paterson, NJ at Passaic County Community College. She recently released a book of poetry, “Where We Nest,” 2020 and is the Founder of Adanna Literary Journal (https://www.pw.org/literary_magazines/adanna), a women-focused journal. She resides at the Jersey Shore where much of her poetry leans on the natural habitat.