The People in the Health Food Store by Kim Dower

The people in the health food store

don’t look healthy which is why they’re here.

I’m here to get carrot chips, craving crunch,

 

flavor, after visiting my mother at the home

where flavor only appears in faint whiffs

of memory, where people in wheelchairs

 

suspiciously eye the applesauce on their trays

delivered by chubby nurses in red scrubs,

pictures of ponies or baby elephants stitched

 

onto pockets that contain their syringes and keys

to the lounge. The people in the health food store

look dirty, wear spandex, have spaces between

 

their teeth, prowl the aisles for natural

supplements, inner peace, ola loa energy drinks,

so only the other losers will die, not them,

 

not after they cleanse their bodies of all

impurities, destroy lingering negative thoughts:

what if my baby never learns to talk,  what if

 

I suddenly forget how to walk, what if the earth

sucks me deep into hell, like the hell my mother

lives in, where when I visit she asks me,

 

“who put me here, when did this happen,”

it was only yesterday she sipped martinis

on the rooftops of Manhattan, so it’s no wonder I run

 

for the health food store, fill my basket with Miracle

Cream to rub in every pore, stock up on Wrinkle

Warrior, buy a year’s supply of brain enhancers

 

so when it’s my turn to stare out the window wearing

floral-patterned daytime pajamas, I’ll remember

who I am, who I was, who I once loved.

Author Bio
Kim Dower’s first book of poetry, Air Kissing on Mars, was published in October 2010 by Red Hen Press. Her poems have been published in the Seneca Review, Ploughshares, and her poem, “Why People Really Have Dogs,” is a Finalist for the 2011 Rattle Poetry Prize competition and can be found in the winter issue of Rattle.