I am a horse,
a patient, plodding hack
harnessed behind a chromed cart —
a cart I push when told to go
and stop when told to whoa.
Mostly I stand motionless against
a row of shelves so other dobbins —
their eyes also those of the living dead —
can shamble through behind their owners,
while mine, ordering me to wait,
briskly sorties right and left —
for bananas between green and yellow,
for a clerk to wrap and price one stalk of celery,
for a pound of hamburger not so iridescent,
for a bottle of milk with a later date —
all things she heaves into the cart.
After long stands I flex my legs a bit,
but obediently I stay at my post.
I stare blankly into the basket
until told once more to plod ahead.
But like an old fire-station horse
gratefully returning to his base,
my shuffle grows more animated
as check-out counters loom . . .
only to be halted when my lady
meets a card-club friend,
and while they chatter,
I sag over the basket,
snort and stamp my hoofs — and then
go into my equine coma once again.