All historians should be supermarket cashiers.
Imagine what we’d learn;
“Your total comes to $10.66,
and that’s the year the Norman’s invaded Britain”
or, “that’ll be $18.61, the year
the Civil War began.”
Now all my receipts are beaches
where six-year-olds find bullets in the sand.
My tomatoes add up to Hiroshima,
and if I’d bought one more carton of milk
the cashier would be discussing the Battle of the Bulge
and not the Peloponnesian War.
But I’m tired of buying soup cans
full of burning villages,
tired of hearing the shouts of Marines
storming beaches in the bread aisle.
I want to live in a house
carved into a seed
inside a watermelon,
to look up at the red sky
as shopping carts roll through the aisles
like distant thunder.
(from Dynamite on a China Plate)