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The Forum Prize

Brian Slusher

Stocking: List


He watches his ex-girlfriend pluck from a box
cans of sliced peaches, which she places upon
a grocery shelf. He wants to tell her they would
sell better stacked in a pyramid near the auto-doors
but he fears if he speaks, he will wake, so he floats
unnoticed, relishing the rhythm of her work.
She makes each can seem weightless, though
he senses the heft of each lift: she balances force
with grace. He wonders is this erotic? Prophetic?
It’s not like she’s shelving jars of pickled larks
or arranging satyr hooves. Maybe in the adjacent aisle
a nightmare tenses its greasy claws, but so far
only the shuttle of her pale hand ferries can after
can after can. He wants to show her the shots
he took in Japan, remind her of the time they 
almost got caught in the park, comb back
one stray lock of hair that rests so softly over
her brown eye, but she blows it back herself,
rises and goes, taking the empty carton away
and as she reaches the far end of the lane
he thinks I hope she recycles, she really should.

Stocking: Text
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