War&Peace@Target by Bruce E. Whitacre

Walk past the warning signs and guards at the door

into the benevolent departments of lifestyle cures:


songbirds fall to the earth


hungry, thirsty, naked, unsheltered, unwell, unfree, unburied

whatever the corporeal gap

the plug

is only a scan away.

SKU by you don't know who.


The dispossessed take the streets


No matter what your shopping basket also bears

the weight of the gloved hand of the stocker,

of the last breath of the trucker.


Seawater laps the doorways


The shelves carry more than solutions. The hornet buzz of headlines swarms the blood red lanes.


Drones blade skies


All for the hunt, the list and the labels;

if it can't be charged it can't exist


A father faints in the hold


The reptile brain is as far as Target can take you:

snake coiled but deaf and almost blind,

jaws endless, stomach bottomless.


A child wanders desert bureaucracies


Peace has turned into some kind of war,

a war that you taste in the very air of the store.

Denial persists: there are no warning signs,

no guards at Target's doors, no,

the focused shopper lines up and checks out as before,

items bagged like the trophies they are.


Families empty pantries.