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I’ve been shopping for years,

but tonight

the shelves are empty

and glare

beneath fluorescent lights.


The night manager loads

unmarked cans

into a brown bag

for no one who is there.


I ask him about the dearth of

goods upon which

I have come to depend.


He smiles and assures me

that all I have come to expect

is as available to me now

as it ever was.


I need only ask . . .


He nods

and begins to place

plain, white paper packages

into the shallow curve

of bags along the counter.


It is then I realize

we gaze together

toward the freezers.