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Shopping for soap

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I came to Wenatchee almost thirty years ago, and after stints with my husband in Burns and Prineville, Oregon and Elko, Nevada (and a brief layover in Spokane) it seemed like a metropolis.  Always a bargain hunter, I became a fan of Grocery Outlet pretty early on.  This poem was inspired by the scent of a particular soap I found there one day. 

I had the privilege of spending the year between high school and college in Aarau, Switzerland as an American Field Service exchange student.  We AFS students were all together for spring break at a stone ruin-turned-hostel in the Alps.  I was nineteen and very romantic.  This poem is what I wished for that week. It all came flooding back in the aisles of Grocery Outlet.

Shopping for Soap
 
Overcome by greed
at Grocery Outlet
I root through the soap bin
on all fours
like a truffle-seeking
French boar
loose in the woods.
 
One blue-boxed treasure
and then another until at last
I’m scolded by another shopper
for breaking the rules
of discount etiquette.
I have taken them all.
 
But I say who cares?
 
Sing a song to Nivea!
Get as much as you can.
 
Sing to spring rain,
cold nights, apples roasting
on willow twigs,
and jugs of red wine
consumed with abandon.
Sing to lovers meeting
in meadows
in shadows
on ledges above
Hannibal’s route
through the Alps,
to violets and chocolates
and stone towers built

Peggy Peterson is a mental health counselor in Wenatchee as well as a poet. She can be reached at pdpeters@nwi.net.

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