Coleridge holds up whole wheat
and asks me with his eyes if this
is what we wanted, and I say no
with my eyes and shoulders, a look
that hurts his feelings. I’m so sad.
Byron limps around the aisle’s end
with a bag of Syrian, sure he’s got
what we need, but no, and he kicks
down a display of Oreos, takes
a package to the back, is gone
for almost an hour. I feel bad.
Shelley floats past waffles now
with a pack of crumpets, does not
even ask, for how can what he feels
be wrong, but my glance drowns
him, and he’s going down, down
for the third time. I feel just awful.
Keats, in the aisle of unknowing,
coughs, sitting against the wine,
more specifically light Zinfandel,
showing me the Wonder he has found,
so light and fluffy, so pale and wan.
Not the wan, I whisper to him,
just as Byron returns ready to kill
me with a large knotty stick,
but no, he says, picnic over before
it’s started, it’s no stick, you
verseless son of a bitch. It’s a cugdel.
Make me a grilled cheese or I
will kick your ass to a heaven
finer than a single grain of wheat.
I feel sorry. And here comes
Hank Longfellow, doing his best
with a basket of pumpernickel.
I clear my throat, clap my hands.
Would someone go with Wordsworth
to check on pickles? Oh the muttering
past mutton, the iambic stacks
of butter to consider then!