The Fairway Market Hostage Crisis
After Richard Siken’s “I Had A Dream About You”
In swollen-hot air, garbage simmered & crisped / and I stretched my arm under the passenger seat in desperation; / Aeryn told me to hurry up but I couldn’t find my cigarettes / & I didn’t want to leave them, in case there was a holdup & we got stuck / in a hostage situation—it was prophetic foresight, / I informed her: we’d be hiding between those organic on-the-vine / tomatoes & the tiny burlap bags of shallots for hours with nothing to smoke. / Don’t be silly, she said, so I followed her / into the store’s air-conditioned belly, abandoning my half-full / pack of American Spirits to wilt & wither in the fever-stale Subaru; / off to scoop coffee beans from bulk bins & thump honeydew melons. / We were debating citrus (Star Ruby or Oro Blanco) when someone yelled nobody move! / and fired three shots, tearing through the artificially chilled air like bitter greens. / Shocked, Aeryn dropped the grapefruits & I leaned over to whisper / I told you so, because I had, really, and she whispered back, / indignant, I hope they shoot you in the leg & then we dissolved / into soundless hysterics, cowering in the produce section / where we handed our wallets to the balaclavas / & the people inside of them, meaning no grapefruits would be bought; / the whole afternoon wasted. Aeryn and I sat on the vinyl tiles, old sweat /congealing on our bodies as we waited for the red-blue schmear of police officers / to concede that yes, in fact, there had been a robbery & they were pretty sorry / about that, but there was nothing they could do for us just yet / or probably ever, and we very pointedly did not smoke any cigarettes there, / between the three packs of pomelos and the four-dollar starfruits, / in that fluorescent labyrinth which had once been called our grocery store. / When we left, the roads were / summer golden-dark & heavy, the two grapefruits we had smuggled out / plump and ripe in the crime-stained early evening. I set them on my lap like twin suns / while Aeryn grabbed the cigarettes from the back seat & lit them / in the glossy wet-hot silence that stretched between us, and when we got / home, we halved the grapefruits and drizzled honey on them, scooping out / each segment with Goodwill spoons. The whole day tumbled off us, the / impossible tartness bursting on our tongues / like gunpowder exploding into flame.
Kayla Eyler is currently writing poetry and moping around at SUNY Geneseo. She likes vampires, women, tofu, and fresh air. When she isn’t bothering her roommate, she can be found gazing longingly out her apartment window to the parking lot or making a pasta meal.