“Are you still open?”
She nods, frowns, and scans
the customer in front.

Snickers, tic-tacs, milky ways,
faces in the stalls: askance,
eyes that don’t look back.

Magazine cover girls watch us,
don’t mind if we stare
but can’t offer gum and conversation.

Our nervous eyes deflect,
we swipe credit cards,
wait for validation.

Who would be the first to hack
a way through the sticky,
thick nougat center?

Who would fold receipts into bracelets,
play sword fights with grocery dividers,
sing of ripe melons and aromatic coffee beans?

I wish I could juggle avocados
and announce to every open stall,
“zombies and automatons are out of service!”

Let’s check each other out unashamedly,
say something, anything real —
let Love be alive and available.