Poems by Carly Sachs
One of Ramona’s favorite things to do
is to plant grocery lists all over the store.
She puts on her camouflage and goes commando.
All of the lists have encrypted messages. For instance,
the one in the frozen pizza case is taped onto a Supreme
Triple Meat Tombstone. It reads:
lettuce, ice, strained prune juice, toothpaste, envelopes,
napkins, fruit roll-ups, applesauce, Tabasco sauce,
sardines, o.j., a pretty normal list, but as an acrostic
it says, listen fatso.
After making each new list Ramona congratulates herself
by cooking a gourmet meal for her and Lucy.
Over baked brie and pan-seared Ahi tuna infused with soy
and cilantro, she recounts her humanitarian efforts.
“Just last week I saved a bulimic girl.”
Lucy twirls her fork with an air of sophisticated boredom
while Ramona recounts the daring feat.
“I had been tracking her for months.
I knew all of her binge foods from Lays Sour Cream
and Onion Chips to the Double Stuft Oreos.
So last week I arrived undercover at 7:08 p.m.,
approximately twenty minutes before the diarrhea diva
was expected in the candy bar aisle to get her fix
before Thursday Night Line Up.
The list I made for her read, eggs, air-popped popcorn,
toilet bowl cleaner, salmon, almonds, legumes, angel food cake,
diet book, string beans, tomato juice, oranges, pickles,
pickled herring, umeboshi plums, kitchen cleaner,
ice cream (fat free), nectarines, grapefruit.”
“Eat salad. Stop puking. Very subtle,” said Lucy.
“If you turn this chick around, call me.
I’ll nominate you for the Nobel Prize.”
If women can fake an orgasm, vegetables can
certainly fake meat.
Ramona doesn’t know if she believes in fakin’ bacon,
tofu wieners or texturized vegetable protein.
She doesn’t know if she is ready
to buy into the illusion of eating meat.
There’s something not honest about the whole
thing. And what has the meat ever done for the vegetable?
You never see a steak pretending he’s a salad.
What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the lettuce.
But what if it was only a little white lie?
Ramona gives the vegetables more credit,
what if there was a method to their madness?
For as long as she has shopped at Whole Foods,
the butcher has made eyes at her. What if she could fool him
with tofu wieners and veggie burgers?
She’d be a lean, mean, meatless grilling machine.
She wonders if he would know the difference between this
and the real thing. Walking down the produce aisle,
she decides to mull it over.
No sign of her prince, she picks up an eggplant and it moans
until she puts it down. Root vegetables writhe in their bins.
Yes, yes, yes, take me from the green beans and oh oh
oh coo the carrots. The tofu label lets you know firm
or extra firm, as if there was even a doubt
as to what Ramona is capable of.
On her way to the checkout she slips
the butcher a note: My place, hot BBQ.
Carly Sachs is the author of the steam sequence and the editor of the anthology the why and later, a collection of poems about rape and assault. Her poems and stories have been published in The Best American Poetry Series and read on NPR’s Selected Shorts. She writes and teaches yoga in Lexington, KY.