By: Lara Egger
Featured art: Form No. 5: Affection for Shapeless Things by Onchi Koshiro
My affection is a tabloid on sale at register three.
Citing moral reservations, the produce section
prefers not to get involved. Even the usually forgiving
cauliflower thinks my choices are questionable.
Have you noticed how some days the rush-hour light
makes the world look as if it’s snorkeling?
Stalled in the desperation of the strip-mall parking lot,
I tally my indiscretions, dog-eared romances
steadily expiring like glove-compartment coupons.
What would have been saved had I not agreed to love them?
Some nights my affection petrifies the lake,
a hush of ice tempering what lies beneath, and others,
a storm invites the water to trouble freely.
The clocks will be turned forward and then back.
Darkness falling, yet another way to describe twilight,
another way, dusk. Will you still think I’m a terrible person
if I tell you I meet emptiness everywhere and my heart
slips easily into its pockets? Up and down the supermarket aisles,
past cold-shouldered Kleenex and tight-lipped Lean Cuisines,
past the chorus of deli cuts chanting its condemnation: my affection
is a tabloid on sale at register three. When the night manager closes up
he pulls last week’s scandal from the rack—old stock
but his wife likes to read them. I write Catastrophe’s name
in steam on the shower door. I offer to give him a ride home.
Lara Egger is the author of How to Love Everyone and Almost Get Away with It (Juniper Prize winner, University of Massachusetts Press, 2021). She is a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship and winner of the Arts & Letters Rumi prize. Egger’s poems have appeared, or will soon appear, in Verse Daily, West Branch, Salt Hill, Ninth Letter, DIAGRAM, Washington Square Review and elsewhere. An Australian native, Egger now lives in Boston where she co-owns a Spanish tapas bar.