Look at the hopeless faces in the grocery aisle.
The stringy-haired mother's choices
of canned tuna, store brand cereal,
those cheap orange crackers
and peanut butter, and all those potato chips.
Her chubby children tug at her sleeves
while she pushes the cart, beg for what
a nurse aide's salary can't buy, and the thirty
pound bag of dog food under it
that she'll have to hoist over her shoulder.
I could follow her home
to a trailer park, help her
lug those splitting plastic sacks inside,
even help her set the paper plates for dinner,
but I am stifled by my own list.
Her husband sits in front of the tv
like a potted plant. He waters himself with beer.
She's stopped trying to control the wild vines; his leaves
takeover the carpet, fall on everything and everyone.
The kids buzz around him, climb on his trunk,
pull on his beard, and he swats them all,
leaves them fluttering on the beer splattered carpet,
leaves them wanting any sweet thing the frost didn't kill.