grocery shopping in the provigo – written march 14, 2007

madeline stops in aisle 5, next to the rows upon
rows of peanut butter, grape jelly, kalamata olives
floating in brine. she leans on her grocery cart, grocery list
held in her unscarred hand, and runs her red-nailed finger
down the lines of her own writing. she has shopped in the same provigo
eight years, ever since she got married and moved to little burgundy,
climbing the hill up fort street, underneath the tunnel,
and not once has gary come with her. instead he pours himself
a drink from the blue bottle of bombay in the cupboard and sits
in his recliner in the living room, watching tsn’s reruns of golf,
football, basketball, whatever the season.
in the provigo it is always flipside-negative summer, bright-lit UV ceilings,
the canned food display at the entrance – beach balls and discount towels
in buckets. mothers shopping in flip flops with babies sucking lik’m’stiks.
and madeline herself, greyed as if emerging from winter, thinned arms
pushing the pounds of instant breakfasts, mixed salads, ice cream.
in the past two years she has started buying herself extra chocolate bars
and hiding the reason for her extra weight from gary, who never says, but serves her
smaller portions at dinner. she likes the milk chocolate with caramel hidden inside
each perfectly sealed square, just like she likes the trojan ultra pleasure condoms
which she pokes holes in, with a pin, so that only she knows the treat she has
allowed herself, the treat which swims, small as an olive, deep in the brine of her belly.

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