Help Never Arrives at the Dollar General in Medicine Park
by Maureen DuRant

Price check bleats Rita into her micro-
phone, her words sucked through wires
into a loud speaker that inhales the pleading

call and spits out scratchy nonsense
where it floats into aisles overflowing
with boxes of generic groceries (instant

coffee, potted meat, Jiffy Cornbread Mix),
yard art (bug-eyed bullfrogs squatting
on sticks, neon pink daises in plastic pots),

and crates of Shasta while a woman
stands juggling baloney, a bag of Ranch
Doritos, a six-pack of Kool-Aid, a box

of Kraft macaroni and powdered cheese,
a pregnancy test (Accurate! Plus Appears
for Positive!), and a baby on her hip,

sleeping--thumb his mouth, fine ringlets
against a flushed face—next to a blue
fairy tattoo smiling on her shoulder.

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