The grocery store is full of
what he needs to continue existing.
It doesn’t say a thing about why he should.
He doesn’t understand the smile
on the face of the guy in the mobile wheelchair
as he rolls between the chilly winds
of the dairy aisle.
Does it matter what brand of coffee he buys?
Or cornflakes? Or salad dressing?
The labels seem to think so.
He tore away his own label years before.
It was the word “goodbye” that made him do it.
The wheelchair guy has no help with him,
not even a service dog.
He can only reach the lower shelves
so many of his decisions are made for him.
He doesn’t have to stand
before a sparkling rainbow of soda bottles
and wonder which will rot his guts the least.
Maybe that’s what he’s so happy about.
Not having to stand.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review, and Columbia Review, with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Visions International.