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Dollar General

                                    Chad Davidson


Great cheese graters, and legions of angels
peering from the top racks saved for everything
robed in Teflon: all prove de Tocqueville a lot

of nonsense, swaddled as he was in our love
of appearances. Think of this place as a rotunda,
filmic and narrative, as you choose the blue

M&Ms because, face it, they’re faceless and moribund.
Still, your need’s machinery shows its whirligigs
enough you’re tempted by the toothpicks all Victorian

in their cellophane wigs. Will your will, you ask,
know a purple bird from desire itself, marked down,
chipped but doable? No death has undone so many

tiny army men pursed in plastic, men like many of you,
wanting a bit of rest from the shock of the Shell
Station’s toll. The very air smells of forgiveness

or forgetfulness, and aren’t they the same?
Or is it the citronella frog, or shelved lubricants
in the auto aisle lined up like infantry before exotic

bombing sites? Either way, you end up back
at the blue M&Ms, sweetening some fictive Bastille,
o candy of decapitations. Blue men, blue men everywhere,

and no aristocrat to think how best to cauterize the cut,
or whether severed heads—I swear I heard this—
enjoy a disembodied moment before they’re washed

over. Relax. The glint from the mint tins
at the counter calls you now, and you are made ancient
coming not from the flatware but from the very isle

of the dead who, pale and hungry, now cross the wide waters
of linoleum to greet you, pointing to the miraculous
sign above the door, which says something about hope.


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