In lane twelve a young mother wearing
powder gray sweatpants she didn’t want
for Christmas shakes her head no.
Her son reaches to tug at the hem

and rattles off the name of every candy
like his very own morning roll call.
All bubblegum and chocolate: present.
On Sunday mornings like this one,

when church folk blow what beer money
missed the collection plate,
and someone’s grandma passes out
yogurt samples with her skeleton hands,

I feel more American than Broadway.
Behind the register a small tag says
her name is Deidra, and she lasers barcodes
the way a conductor signals for downbeat,

and we shuffle forward, following
a rainbow-ribboned march, stamping salsa
on special. Deidra watches the bag boy
for signs of what might later become

a great fuck. If he asks what time
she gets off, she’ll say soon. The young
mother decides on a credit card while
her son pockets a pack of watermelon gum.

When I grab a chocolate bar and slide it
into my shirt, the little man smiles to let me
know it’s okay. He presses his tongue into
the space to show me what the fairy took.

Chris Mink just completed his PhD at Florida State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Harpur Palate, Anti-, Ovenbird, and Storyscape among others.