Poetry by Jennifer Van Buren, Photo by Zelda Zabrinsky


made a decision to put numbers my produce.
Who assigned Golden Delicious
and Jonathan 2029?
Most likely an efficiency expert.

And my guess:
at that precise moment
scientists were given divine permission
to sew flounder genes
into our strawberries
so they too can be frost-resistant.
All the way down Route 70
alpha-numeric codes on metal signs 
mark the end of the corn rows.
I want my words back.
I want my words back.
The cashier does not know the name
of my onions.
She does not need to know
the name of my onions.
They are not even in season.
I whisper words with each laser scan beep.

We spit the stickers in the sink.

- Previously published in Stirring.

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