woman in the supermarket

you don’t think you’ll find anybody in there
at 9:30 a.m.
and there I was rolling my basket along and
she blocked me off with her cart between the
cotto salami, the home made pickles and the clerk
who was stamping packages of newly-arrived
bologna.   I put it in reverse and
ran through the produce section, found a
good buy on navel oranges, 10 cents a pound,
picked up some cabbage and green onions, rolled
out and to the east, she was standing between the
Bran Flakes and the Wheaties, skirt about 3 inches
above the knees and tight-fitting.   she had on a
see-through blouse with a very slight brassiere.
she had fair ankles, brown flat shoes and eyes like
Claudette Colbert used to wear when I was a kid.
she smelled like cherry blossoms and olive pits and
she swayed.   36 years old and unhappy in marriage,
her basket was still empty.   I pushed past.   her eyes
had been a pale mad blue, staring.   all the meats were
high.   I found 2 day-old spencer steaks and one sirloin
steak marked-down, so I took those, got a dozen medium
eggs, and there she was in the frozen vegetable section,
the mad blue eyes more stricken than ever and looking into
mine, I lowered my head and pushed past and as I did she
managed to brush her rump against my flank, I got some
frozen peas, some baby limas, I got through the bread section
alone, decided my shopping was done, got in the checkout
line and was standing there when I felt a leg pressed
against mine from ankle to waist, I stood silent smelling
the cherry blossoms and olive pits as she lit a cigarette.
I took my bag and walked to the parking lot and got into my
car and started it, backed out, turned to the south and
there she was in front of me, swaying and smiling and staring.
she danced back and forth in front of my bumper, bending at
the hips, voluting her ass, whirling; one breast got loose
in the see-through blouse, my car stalled and I had to watch
her climb into her’s, hiking her skirt very high, full fat
thighs, flashes of pink petticoat, I got out of there, got
back in my breadkfastnook, left the groceries on the table,
got it out in the bathroom, beat off in a minute and 30
seconds, then walked back to the breakfastnook, took the
things out of the bag and started putting them

Charles Bukowski
Original manuscript
This poem appeared in the following books: