Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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CAKI WILKINSON

Self-Checkout

The paradox of choice: supply demands
variety, but just how many brands
of waffles does a woman need to test
before selecting one that suits her best?
From waffles on to syrup (which entails
the nuances of sausage links, and sales),
it’s awful. Though Wynona hopes to build
her option-tolerance, last week she killed
a morning, slack-jawed, at the hardware store
trying to pick the perfect two-by-four-
inch strip of cardstock (teal a tad too jade,
luna too mucus, golf course lacking glade,
only to find her subtle English pea,
wall-sized, was not so subtle). You can see
why after several minutes making faces
at her reflection in the freezer cases
this afternoon, she simply calls it quits—
to hell with waffles, butter, bacon bits—
and drops her basket in the sea of feet
like a bomb or baby.
                                    Sure, she needs to eat,
would maybe place an order could she win
the takeout without going in again.
As for delivery, it sounds terrific
prior to toppings (“Ma’am, please be specific,
which kind of crust?”), and drive-through joints divide
their menu into menus: pick a side,
pick three, in fact. No thank you, that’s alright,
Wynona says. She’s lost her appetite,
flat dithered out. So—barely getting by—
why won’t she ┬ámake a move to simplify?
She’d like to think that if she had her druthers
there’d be no druthers. Truth is, like the others
who stand, eyes glazing over, and assay
the stock, Wynona hates to look away,
believes if she could memorize the list
she’d know there’s nothing more than this she missed.  


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