“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

JANUS FACES THE CANNED GOODS AISLE

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as a verb, (facing) refers to the
physical action of moving products to the
edge of the shelf to ensure shelves always
appear full, even if they are not

-darren gilbert, “an expert’s
guide to product facing”

deep and compulsive I reach
into the dark place
between the kidney and the black
beans, to pull what’s hidden to the front,
to maintain the feel of a well-stocked shelf, a horn
of plenty. my hand
fetches the last can, draws it out, the fecund delusion
of the steady stream
of men who’d load their arms
with lightly damaged things, and lay them at my feet

strawberries, bulk snacks, wool socks
in winter, of the always open-closing door
produce guy, meat guy, night crew sauntering in, 9 or so,
whenever I closed, who’d wink and ask,
will you check me out, by which they meant, let me
steal something

I used to dream of making out in the dairy case
with each and every one
whenever I was alone in the breakroom, licking day-old yogurt
from my plastic spoon
between stanzas of the metamorphoses, beat-up copy we’d read
in fifteen-minute segments. I line up
cans, satisfying form.
a can for the the stocker let go
for singing in the aisles. a can
for the hidden hand appearing
from the other side of the milks, encouraging
the bottle forward as I reach in

TWO OWLS FACING TWO WAYS

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waiting for the chord to come
together in the mariachi venus
de milo up against a horse girl almost boy
wanting the want made of wire behind her
face birdsong a lanyard of Sundays
suspended empties left on the roof’s edge
new kids new rules covergirl
ad for lashes would kiss
where the fantasy ends if it ends
petting the crocodile like its real

TO INFILTRATE THE FLOWER GUILD

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go alone
early morning
do not pay to park
you are a florist
you are a lot
a good deliverer of goods
you are a flower in water
you are backdrop king
chiffon? forget it
it’s yours
sequins
are everywhere you look
run your hand
over anything
and it’s underside
reveals itself to you
cause you’re a mystic baby
you are a driving factor
an industry in yourself
you don’t have to ask
the cost of anything
you are begonia
you are perennial
you are carnation queen
you are stamen envy
a stem
a long stem
11 stems more
makes a dozen
you bouquet anything
you make or break this wedding
you are nuptial bliss
you are no cater waiter
no flowergirl
a dozen heads of roses
rely on you
a dozen men
sing your praise
the prophecy you are
is not fake
wheeling and dealing
real deal
louboutin in blood
like it’s nothing
go ahead, try it

Appears in this issue
Mack Gregg’s poems appear or will soon appear in Hot Pink Magazine, b l u s h, Witch Craft Magazine, BathHouse journal, and elsewhere.

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