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Plus Appetite



How to be =
being. Perceive

us, A&P parking lot in determinate
dusk, grandiose

hazes fill up the sky.
Are the sky.

Shiny, cheerful aisles of plethora. So encouraging,
talkative, like a small town, overlit mutter
of—two shapes: choice
or square, two durations: a year
to a day, these substances: flesh, sheened
cardboard. Appetite

as a function
appears dumb,

cartons eager and
unctuous, idiot

surface gladhanding.
Money as dumb.

And transacting entry or exit, gracious hiss
of the sliding back, chilly
exhibit, nature. We in the ice-case
reflector, caught, given
back surplus +
influx, ugly crustacea or jetsam and flotsam, old
Vladimir, young Estragon. Sea-wrack or hunger and
aspirin. Push
at our tissue, circadian

flaring of hothouse and peatmoss on sale
in the mall portico. Cough-syrups carny

the liquor store. So we
touch. We

are touching. Ellipsis of temporary sugar
crust feeds at our mouths, hot

expiry, chrome baskets fulsome
in floodlight. Cornucopic

mess in their stanchions and car engines
billowing vapor, emitting

a cloud that is separate and mingles
with ours and fades. Toxic particulate heightens

the colors that augment or gaudily
bleed, and waves exchange
stress with the traffic, low
constant muffling roar—wait, merge—constant
comforting low muffled roar.   


—Frances Richard

Frances Richard’s first book, See Through, will be published in October. She is nonfiction editor of Fence, a member of the editorial team at Cabinet, and teaches at Barnard College in New York City.

Originally published in the Summer 2003 issue of Boston Review



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