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Helen, Retired

“You call these grapes?” she says in produce.
“ Guatemalan? where in Hades is that, anyway?
The Boeotian were purple, sweet like my mouth,
Thesssalian thick-skinned, firm as these tits.”

She squeezes loaves in baked goods,
Draws the eye of the man boxing cakes,
Plops a bag of Spartan Pita into her cart,
Smacks across the deli counter, “Spartan my ass.”

The cashier calls for a price on feta.
“ Hi, Mrs. Atreus. Hot enough for you?”
“ Hot? You don’t know hot,” then sees
Three boys stacking golden delicious, staring.

“Ask your friends back there,” to the bag boy
Loading the trunk of her LeSabre,
“ What they’d sail the world for,
What they’d give up, die for.”

She pulls out of the New Smyrna Winn Dixie,
Looks east at an ocean almost as dark as wine,
As the blood of a hundred thousand,
Spits grape seeds against the car window.

--Ron Cooper