635 Readings


WOMEN: Happy are we, the women

in capris who sail  

into your parking lot, who swarm

through your automatic doors

into this bright, clean box. 

You are our safe harbor

with soft pretzels.

You are our brazen giant

astride from land to land.

You are our mother of exiles.


You are a great comfort to us,

Target. We are soothed

by your massive inventory,

knowing we can get what we need 

between eight and eleven every day.

We peruse your manifold objects,

cheap and well designed,

nearly every one of them good.

We tie our necks

with these eight-dollar scarves.

Your dollar bins convince us:

there is no poverty.

Your highways are wide,

open, accommodating

these big red carts,

each with one fucked-up wheel.


Our immigrant grandmothers, sailing

from Cork, Bremerhaven, Liverpool,

Palermo, leaning hard on the rail,

had but one beacon of hope

while we have thousands

crossing shore from shore.


WOMAN 1: They couldn’t have dreamt

of such riches for us:

chocolate fountains

in aisle seventeen,

tonics to cure cholera,

syphilis, gout, melancholy.


WOMEN: We can buy dresses

for less than an hour’s wages.

We can sleep

on beds filled with air.

We can drink wine

poured from shiny paper boxes

into cups we use once

then throw away.


WOMAN 2: I know the spirit of god

is the sister of my own

and we are one yearning,

obedient mass,

arms laden with tampons,

children’s Tylenol,

three-ring binders, considering

the dog toys on a Thursday night

when the manager shouts his yawp

into the P.A., calling us all

to a clerk and a numbered register

where, clutching our goods, we wait.


WALT WHITMAN: What has become

of the women and children?

What has become

of the young and old men?


ALL: We’re right here in Target,

singing what belongs

to each of us and no one else.


Posted 11/08/15
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