Fat Free
by Diane Gross

Mr. Jensen buys his wife Jergens
at four in the morning
while wearing purple polka dot pajamas

as Michael and I play hopscotch
over cracked yellow tile
that leads us past pre-packaged
luncheon meats

and we'll go quick
because we don't
eat meat
not even the kind
that is ninety-nine percent
fat free

we'll go quick
because we don't
want to trip over the
shoelaces of the boy
with the goatee and with
the backwards baseball hat

the one that takes his girl
browsing through the premium
micro-brew beer section
only to buy the Bud Light
because he's broke
and she's watching her waistline

so we don't talk to them
say "hi" say "excuse me"
just smooth past
ice skating on
just waxed late night floors
in search of ingredients
for a chocolate cheesecake recipe
that Michael keeps in his back pocket

smooth past as a size
three woman
shoves Covergirl cosmetics
and a leg of lamb
down a size ten jumpsuit
while she mumbles and rationalizes that
the foodstamps are three
days late

we careen around corners
with women and their kids
in plastic child safety seats
that are securely mounted to
wobbly market baskets
and find that we have now found
the sauce and condiment aisle

spend five minutes explaining
to Michael that Ragu and Betty Crocker
are different
same target selling demographic
but different
both have chubby Italian spokespersons
but Angel Food Cake and Extra Chunky Marinara Sauce
are from different food groups
before finally making it to baked goods

grab mix, grab eggs, grab
the latest copy of the National Enquirer
for our reading pleasure
and slip past the register before our
coupon expires


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