GROCERY WAREHOUSE Katy Gunn
The situation was purchasing a membership to the grocery warehouse. Where there were
packages of oranges designed to be large and economical. The situation was raining
outside and some distinct twitch in her survival mode. The large cashier made arranging
look so easy she could do it. It was not raining when she returned to her apartment.
Where she placed all her purchases. The situation was such large and heavy purchases
trapping her in her kitchen. So many dinners to make.
SNACK SMARTA SOLUTION
Portion the protein. No more than two starches. Dinner like a pauper. In the beginning
there had been rules.
LITERARY PLAY PRETEND
The persimmon in her hands was larger than her head. Still it seemed the most
reasonable. Smaller than a grapefruit. Smaller than a cantaloupe. She tried to bite it, but
the strain of lifting fruit to face upset her balance and the persimmon hit her teeth harder
than she had planned and bounced off and hurt. She put the persimmon on the floor and
put herself on the persimmon. She drew a mental map: Produce Wall, Doors and
Windows. A little key: Produce Type, Price, Projected Expiration, Weight in Pounds. She
lay on the floor beside the persimmon. She pressed her teeth into its side, gripped, and
pulled. A piece of persimmon the size of her mouth came off in her mouth. The hole
looked like a tiny, pursed mouth, and disapproval.
She had once read a story called James and the Giant Peach. She had also read a story
called Jack and the Beanstalk. In books, vegetables led somewhere. She rolled an orange
across the kitchen. Into a tomato. She rolled it again. Into the side of the pretzel bin. The
pretzels shifted uncomfortably. She rolled the orange into a larger orange. She played
orange marbles and pretended she played in the kitchen of a giant and not her kitchen at
all. She cheered for the smallest large oranges and helped them cheer back Thank you
Jack! Thank you Jack! until it could be time for dinner again.
She had read about malnourishment, and starvation, and hunger. She had grown a garden
but had given it up. Too many squash, she had decided that year. Too many squash and
not enough else. She imagined a grocery warehouse with a lawn and garden section. She
could not get all the basil out of her head. It would take so much time to water that she
would never be able to cook. Small hoses ran in her mouth.
A SECOND SOLUTION
She would hold a melting of goat cheese. She would include all of her eggs. Outside of
their carton they were smaller, nervous, manageable. Thirty-five. One had cracked in the
move from the store. She lined them up in the grooves of her plastic dish-drying rack. To
begin, she of the goat, her long creased ears, the knobs of bone above her eyes. The goat
inside her body stepped with her toes like a dancer. Each egg cracked on the side of her
blue bowl. Albumen crept down the outside, catching the light and turning it bluer. She
made, on the stove, a blue flame that stayed blue. It lurched like the hocks of a goat. She
put pan on the flame and the flame spread. She put her eggs in the pan and her eggs
spread, one egg, hole-edged and rising with air. The goat inside her body reached her
twisted top lip toward the bubbles of egg and blew through her nostrils a light spatter of
mucus. It settled on her eggs like a dew. She broke the round of goat cheese with her
hands and held it in halves over the pan. The melting coated her fingers. She assumed an
even underbite and chewed her eggs with the ruminating molars of the goat.
After her sixth dinner of twenty-nine-bean soup, she went to sleep and became a castle.
She grew spacious. She grew turrets as tall as her bedposts. She climbed over the
drawbridge in place of her tongue. Inside of the castle that was herself, she was weensy
and meaningful as a matriarch. She stamped her glass feet and made noises
like guns. Queen of Self. She ordered work to be done. 1. Her esophagus candle-lit. 2.
Her villi pruned into lions. 3. Her twenty-nine-bean soup removed from the premises. She
spun like a landing plane through her uncluttered stomach, running into nothing, singing
decadence decadence decadence!
She could not think of North Dakota. She could not smell a wheat field burning. She had
an electric oven and it was economy-sized. She thought only of the pita. Wasn't it nice
the pita. Wasn't it nice the first batch of pita baking her kitchen so hot. When he came in
he would sniff the house smells so nice and shout when he saw oh the pita! Her second
dough rose energetically. She kneaded the third. She kneaded the third. She kneaded the
third till her wrists ached. Her third dough rose aggressively. Mary-Anne wow the pita he
would say when he came. He would have green eyes.
HOW TO COMPOST
It was her first happy accident, spilling the deluxe mixed nuts and lemon juice andLITTLE CAT
anchovies. How else would she have found herself on the rocky shores of a low river?
Developed her interest in hiking? Cut her foot on the tip of an almond and felt the burn of
the natural world? She fashioned a tent from seventy napkins and allowed herself to have
forgotten her picnic. She practiced calling hungry and licked blood from the stones at the
Barefoot. Brown sugar stains on her face. She smelled herself and smelled olives and
anchovies. She stepped away from her stove and faced it. Looked it in the eyes. A
handful of haystack broke off of her peanut butter dessert haystack and tumbled between
them. Stage left to stage right. She had bearing. She had a slotted spoon. She squinted one
eye and fried.
If she had a little cat on her stomach while she slept. It would keep her from having the
appetizer dream. She wouldn't name it Muffin. If she had a little purring. She would
name it Pestle. Knifeset. Blender. It would keep her from waking to thoughts of herself as
a course eaten while standing. She defrosted four ten-packs of chicken breasts and
arranged them around her kitchen in flocks.