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The Shopping List She Left on the Counter

By Matthew Merson

Since your mom is visiting after the funeral, please pick up while you’re out: Laundry Soap; Candles; One dozen eggs, large, brown; Buttermilk; Sausage, the spicy kind we usually only buy at Christmas; Green olives, the big jar; Toothpicks, so we can feed each other without dirtying the dishes; Ice cream, vanilla; Maple syrup; Kumquats; Skirt steak, like the kind we had in New Orleans on our anniversary; Blood oranges; Mushrooms, your pick, you always spot the good ones; Tomato soup, in case I feel lonely; Butternut squash, so I can make your favorite when you feel alone; Bonzini, head on, whole fish, you can grill it in aluminum foil with thyme and lemongrass like when we were first married and we would eat down to the bones, pretending we were somewhere in the mediterranean; Cheddar cheese, the Vermont kind so we can taste our first love again; Fig jam, the jar with the orange lid, the same kind we ate along the Pacific with brie and french bread, sitting in the sand talking about the love we just made; Strawberries; Rhubarb; Basil for the pie I want to make; Pita Bread; Chickpeas for the hummus you make me on Sundays; Bok Choy; Asparagus; Purple potatoes; Peaches; Pistachios; Butter, salted; and Wine, for God’s sake do not forget the wine; the good bottle with bull on the label, tonight might also be our last.

Matthew Merson is a high school science teacher in the lowcountry of South Carolina where he lives and plays with his wife, two kids, and dogs. His other works can be read at Apocalypse Confidential, The Basilisk Tree, and Hidden Peak Press.

Art by Hannah Leach.


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