“Drugstore Baby” by Sarah Trudgeon

Here in St. Louis it's a chilly National Poetry Month morning, and the LED lights up and down the UCity Loop are a steady cool: a mid-spring morning to evoke “profound pity,” as in this poem by Sarah Trudgeon.

Drugstore Baby

After dinner, Baby and me take just the right amount of Neurontin
and walk to CVS. The stars come out. We test
nail polishes on Baby’s little nails, softer than skin;
we nod at Jeggings and Snuggies in As Seen on TV,
the varieties of Band-Aids, the hair gels. But it’s Office Supply,
we know, that will do us in. We buy. We buy
pads of scrapbooking paper (Capturing Special Memories™).
Stickers. Felt pens. Walking out, we watch a man
try to return here something he got at Walmart,
yelling into the beige store phone, “I know that, in my philosophy,
the customer’s right. I’d give me a gift card… Somethin’!”

But at home, we find nothing to save or record.
So we cut pictures of roses and angels from books and make
a new book, less professional, but one that, says Baby,
inspires a profound pity. As usual, he is right: it’s so sad.
And we haven’t even included the things that are sad.
Our fingers and bones sore from cutting and sitting on the floor,
we talk about how, earlier, cars nosed home for dinner
in the winter dark—all of those people, living and living
and living. Baby and I had been plodding along the sidewalk,
wishing we had a snack. We were so tired.

from Blackbird (Fall 2014)

About Richard Long

I'm a Professor of English at Saint Louis Community College--Meramec, where I teach composition, creative writing, environmental literature, and poetry. I also edit 2River, home of the 2River View, the 2River Chapbook Series, and Muddy Bank. You can also follow me on my bicycle as I tour the country, self supported, at richardtreks.blogspot.com.
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