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A Supermarket in Pennsylvania

by Kathryn Elisa Ionata
I saw my old psychiatrist at Trader Joe’s,
sampling organic hand lotion.
We last faced off

50 milligrams ago, when he talked
about stress, and I watched the clock’s hands
march, an army of gears ticking

like the rattle of pills. This 2-pill-day,
I gather dried fruit, herbs,
everything organic. My old shrink,

smaller and greyer, bags peppers
and free-range chicken
with his dark-haired wife.

Tense despite the lavender plant I hold,
my gaze flings to my love, the engineer,
weighing cranberries

versus apricots. He has seen me
through deflated 1-pill-days.
My old shrink has brown bags

happier than dopamine, and I want
to block his exit, show him my fruit bars
and engineer, whose perfect serotonin

levels mock health insurance. I am 8 years,
200 milligrams better. I buy only organic and
my lavender plant doesn’t talk back.

I see my shrink slip away, like an expired prescription—

We pay for the plant and dried cranberries,
which, I have told the engineer, taste best.
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About The Author

Kathryn Elisa Ionata is a student in the graduate creative writing program at Temple University. Her writing has appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hyphen, NYTimes.com, and other publications. She was the sixth runner-up in the 2008 Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest. She lives in Doylestown, PA.

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Saint Joseph University
Writer's Relief