Ode to Wal-Mart

David Bersell

Wal-Mart on a Sunday night is swollen and hungry and loud, but let us ignore the sadness so we don’t break and get toed under the bottom shelf, or chucked in a cart and rolled to clearance to soften like pumpkins in November. Forgive the cheap imports and foodstuff and low wages and death of independent business. Please. We can’t take it. We cut lawns and serve dinners and chase children who are not our own. Let us roll through the weekend minutes as if we own the place.         

    

And maybe if the prices are low enough, we will live better. Maybe if we buy the Axe Deodorant Body Spray gift set, we will be happier. Please. I’ve got thirty-eight dollars and a list. The kid next to the Crayola won’t just stay still and listen, damn it, and her mother’s eyes scare me, and the teenagers are too big for the toy section but have nowhere else to go, and the sadness is coming back, no, not yet. I still need envelopes and laundry detergent.

 

Taste the expired milk, like pollen, blowing in the too-cold air conditioning. The rows of Pop-Tarts are blooming, S’mores and Wild! Berry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon, and I could cannonball into the bin of five-dollar DVDs, and look, look at those giant rubber totes with lids. I need those. Everybody needs those. I want to slip on a pair of Mountain Dew pajama pants. I want to trade my shopping cart for a Razor scooter and make a cul-de-sac out of Health & Beauty and blow Trojans into balloons. I want to decorate our town, our streets labeled Art Supplies and Artificial Trees and Floral, the teenagers chirping  as I dim the lights and sew a fleece gown for the cashier with the wrist brace. I want to mix her a salad of Doritos and M&M’s, lick the orange dust from her teeth. I want to love her on top of a pile of Hot Pockets and Now That’s What I Call Music 57. I want to make a fat plastic baby.

 About the Writer
Split Lip Magazine

David Bersell's first book, The Way I’ve Seen Her Ever Since, a collection of personal essays, is forthcoming from The Lettered Streets Press at the end of the year. He's also working on a chapbook of flash essays about living in Nashville and a novella about depressed teenagers.