John Grochalski

supermarket tough guys

his cart
is practically up our asses

he’s angry, obviously
for having to grocery shop

or whatever white, male malaise
has caught his eye that day

maybe his sports team lost

he clearly wants to run over us
though we are no meanderers 

when he passes us, my wife says
run up my ass, why don’t you

he stops and turns around
with a practiced clint eastwood glare

the kind that used to scare his wife or his kids

he says, did you call me an ass?

my wife says, no, i was talking to my husband

she points to me
so, of course, i have say,

and even if she did call you an ass
there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it

he doesn’t seem to like that
starts ranting and raving at us

until my wife says, why don’t you calm the fuck down

his eyes bug out

like no woman 
in the history of his white, male reign on earth
has ever told him to calm down before

he takes a step forward
so i do the same

almost nose to nose in the fresh meat aisle

as people around us pick pork chops 
and plan their evening meals

supermarket tough guys on a monday morning

middle aged men
doin’ the toxic masculinity rag

i tell him why don’t we take this outside

though i don’t think
i’ve ever told anyone
to take something outside

it seems funny to me to even say it

he glares at me a moment, contemplating

then he says,
as soon as i finish my grocery shopping, pal

storms away with his cart
full of red meat
and potato chips

while i stand there
chest puffed and fists clinched

heart beating a mile a minute

until my wife snaps me out of it
and says to me

now, where in the hell in this place

do they keep
the goddamned chicken?

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