Issue Five- February 2003

On a Scale

By Molly Swan-Sheeran

Two girls 
in a grocery store
took turns weighing their heads
on a scale.
Giggling, their actions
had the mirror of the morgue,
and though I laughed as I walked by,
shopping for milk,
shopping for bread,
I wept within to see their lives before them
expand, contract, end
and be quantified.
One girl says "Ten pounds"
and, yes, ten pounds upon her nightly pillow rests.
One girl says "Nine" uncertain if that is better or worse.
I'm shopping for breath,
I'm shopping for viscera.
Later I pass them on my way
to the heads of lettuce
which are too dear, and I turn aside.

Copyright © 2002 by Molly Swan-Sheeran