Archives for posts with tag: supermarkets

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The Masks
by Jay Passer

at the Golden Veggie Market
she checks out the groceries
just apples lemons and whitefish today

I’ve never seen her face
since the store changed hands
during the early days of the pandemic

the new owners have yet to price half the stock
but she knows exactly how much everything is
guacamole salsa, Greek yogurt, ginger root

I can make out her smile under the mask
and her bright eyes as she rings me up
spry almond-eyed crystalline woman!

and that’s it for the day
as my glasses fog up from the mask
hitting Polk Street at California

headed back to quarantine
the cable cars haven’t been running either
I think I’ll steam the fish with basmati rice

PHOTO: Woman modeling reusable face mask available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The lady from this poem was way too shy to agree to a photo op — in fact, I have a feeling she had little idea what I was talking about, so I left that alone, because I shop there primarily, and don’t want things to be weird.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jay Passer’s work has been published in print and online in dozens of periodicals spanning the globe since 1988. His most recent collections, Unendurable Illumination, from Cyberwit Press, and Prelude to the Culling, from Alien Buddha Press, both appeared in 2020. He is the author of 12 chapbooks and has been included in several anthologies. Passer lives and works in San Francisco, California, the city of his birth.

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Senior Hours and More
by Joan Leotta

While I truly thank the many who came to my home, delivering what we ordered, so many more orders than I usually make (OTC meds, cleaning supplies, certain foodstuffs from stores a far drive from here), weekly we headed out in senior hours to the grocery store.

There, the clerks who know me by name and face and voice, recognized me and I them, even masked, and we laughed as I thanked them for their presence and the gift their service was and is to me. Through the years we exchanged laughter over family, over work, shared recipes. In the early morning senior hours we shared wishes for safety and good health as my vegetables and fruits rolled down to the register.

Good friends always, in this time of Covid, they risked their lives so I could eat apples, lettuce, eggplant. Lennie looks over his mask with even greater insight that the rest, so I single him out from the crowd, for as E.B. White says, it is truly rare to find a friend who is also a good writer—Lennie is in my writer’s group. Though the braver in the group have met outside, I have kept in touch by email—so thanks to Lennie, a grocery worker who has made it his job to help me nourish body and soul.

Photo of Leonard DiGregio by the author, used with his permission..

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There are so many essential workers in my daily life—drug store clerks, the checkers and baggers and cart cleaners from the four different groceries we use, the delivery folks and postal workers—so many. I chose to write about Lennie because of our friendship that goes beyond his work day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: When she is not playing with words on page or stage, Joan Leotta loves nothing more than sitting at table or walking the beach, laughing and talking with family. She spins poems, articles, essays, short stories, and performance pieces most often around her core interests—food, family, nature, travel, and strong women. Her poetry books include  Languid Lusciousness with Lemon (Finishing Line Press), Nature’s Gifts from Stanzaic Stylings (free online), and a mini-book from origami poems (free, but also printable). Another short collection will be released by Origami in 2020. Visit her at and on Facebook.