Behind the counter, sneaking
almonds and slivers
of block chocolate smashed
in back with a hammer,
Doris is regal, imperial, in
charge! Can tell rolled oats
from steel-cut at fifty
feet. Can smell the age
of cheddar. The women
trust her with their food
stamps, platinum cards, black
eyes. And when she steps down
to mop alone at night, she reaches
over to fill her hand
with a shower of gold dried
apricots. Boxes flattened crisp,
grate pulled down,
the road a flat roll
of licorice. On the sidewalk
she looks up at the stamped
punched eye of the moon.
It's scary, its haughtiness,
how much it loves its bruises.
How dare you, she says, and pushes off.