Kevin Canfield

Groceries

The line to get inside stretches
North on Lenox and snakes
Past a desolate playground
I stand beneath a sidewalk
Oak tree, alive with
Pink and green buds on
This April Saturday in 2020
A woman in front of me
Tugs at the scarf
Stretched across the
Bottom half of her face
She exposes her mouth
And takes a phone call
We are all wearing masks or
Improvised cloth face coverings,
As our mayor calls them

An hour passes before
I reach the entrance
My shopping list says:
Tuna, vegetables, coffee,
Pasta, mint chip ice cream
This last item requested
By my daughter, who
Arrived in this country
Three months ago
And attended school
For nine days
Before people started using
Words like epicenter and
Infection hot spot
To describe New York,
Her new home city

The were out
Of mint chip
I got Neapolitan
She didn’t mind

Kevin Canfield is a writer in New York City. His work has appeared in Bookforum, Cineaste, Cabildo Quarterly and other publications.

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