"The Health Food Section" - Mark Flanigan

"The Health Food Section" - Mark Flanigan

every Sunday
at the grocery
I pile all kinds of fruit
in our cart

my girlfriend inevitably asking,
"why you buying all that fruit?
you know you're just wasting money." 

"I'm eating healthy this week,"
I declare, then
stomp toward the cereal aisle.

last night
while little tramping home from the bar

after telling myself
and anyone else who'd listen
that I'd be leaving by midnight
so help me God

after my girlfriend, saying goodbye,
exclaimed "See you at 2:30!"

after looking at my phone and realizing
it was actually already 3:18
and I had two beers
one in each pocket


my thoughts turned
to my overflowing basket of fruit,
the one that continually mocks me
from my kitchen table:

its apples with stretched, wrinkled skin
to match my own,
the pears bruised as if from a bar fight,
the whole lot graying
drying up
or becoming too sweet to eat

and while walking uphill
I told myself

I am going to eat that basket of fruit

I'm going to eat each and every
soft kiwi
overripe orange
banana turned plantain

no matter how mottled or fuzzy or
past their prime 

I'm going to make love to my girlfriend 
in a bed of grapes
I'm going to write poems with the blood
from strawberries
I'm going to get my money's worth, invest
in myself
I will inject oatmeal into my veins
if need be
so help me God, I am going to inhale
the health and goodness
from each and every piece in that goddamn basket of fruit


Mark Flanigan is the co-founder, with Jim Palmerini, of Word of Mouth Cincinnati. He has been the featured reader every December since 2009 at Athens Word of Mouth.

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