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  • Apocalypse at the Safeway
  • Suzanne Roberts (bio)

The first intercom announcementis that they no longer take money.Your dollars, they say, are useless.The looting begins. Everyone rushesthe aisles, stealing Guatemalan coffee,Puerto Rican rum, Chilean sea bass, Frenchwine. Another announcement: No moreproduce will ever be delivered—you must learnto eat only what you can grow. Outside,January snows cover granite.

Meanwhile, a frenzy in produce—I fill my pockets with Brazilian tangerines,Mexican radishes, Ecuadorian asparagus.A man with a shirtful of broccoli floretsshoves me out of his way. Rounds of iceberg,scallions, and parsley fly through the air.Pumpkins and pineapples are weaponry.I leave produce, head for canned goods.

I fight an old woman for the last can of tuna.For my cats! she cries, prying my fingersfrom the can. Another woman runs pastwith an armful of fancy canned peaches.She stumbles, falls to her knees, cans wobblesilver in the murky darkness like suffocating fish.The fluorescent lights dim, then flicker,like theater lobby lights, indicatingthe end of the intermission. [End Page 92]

Suzanne Roberts

Suzanne Roberts holds degrees in biology and English, and a doctorate in literature and the environment. Her books of poetry include Plotting Temporality (2012), Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel (2011), Nothing to You (2008), and Shameless (2007). She is also author of Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail (2012).



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