There’s a white, round, taped-down sticker on my mother’s gravy boat. $12. I’ve seen it, in other universes, for 10. 15. I don’t always buy it, but in this world, I collect my mother’s Pyrex pattern: green with white daisies.
From another vendor I negotiate $10 for a $20 framed crochet of a rainbowed snail.
I buy a rusting birdcage because in one plane I had a cockatiel when I was nine that never learned to talk.
While the seller is making change, I pocket a pair of webbed earrings, complete with dangling spiders, because in every dimension I find a pair to steal.
On most I sneak them back onto the shelf.
* * *
You are too early for the movie so you watch the concession stand.
You think the little girl, who can’t stand still, will ask for Fun Dip; for the activity it takes to obtain the sugary powder from the pouches with nothing more than a candy based chalky stick.
The big guy by himself will want to upsize his combo, but he'll stick to his small diet coke and a soft pretzel.
The girl on her first date will ask for the freshness of Junior Mints even though she’s craving the Butterfinger Bites because she knows chocolate would be messy and she's wearing pale yellow. Her date will decide on a tactile treat: Twizzlers.
You haven’t decided what you’ll have, but you hope they have tea. And maybe you’ll add a medium popcorn, denying your desire for the round satisfaction of a large tub.
You can already feel the rhythm of piece after piece of the popcorn carefully selected and placed on your tongue. The salt. How your pace quickens as you reach in for handfuls, noting the sandy sensation of the bag, nearly empty, before the trailers are even done.
* * *
Jessie Carty is the author of seven poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012) which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize and her newest full length collection Practicing Disaster which was published by Aldrich Press in 2014.