Monday, February 4, 2008

"The Star Market"

This is from the January 14th New Yorker. The poet is Marie Howe.

The people Jesus loved were shopping at the Star Market yesterday.
An old lead-colored man standing next to me at the checkout
breathed so heavily I had to step back a few steps.

Even after his bags were packed he still stood, breathing hard and
hawking into his hand. The feeble, the lame, I could hardly look at them:
shuffling through the aisles, they smelled of decay, as if the Star Market

had declared a day off for the able-bodied, and I had wandered in
with the rest of them--sour milk, bad meat--
looking for cereal and spring water.

Jesus must have been a saint, I said to myself, looking for my lost car
in the parking lot later, stumbling among the people who would have
been lowered into rooms by ropes, who would have crept

out of caves or crawled from the corners of public baths on their hands
and knees begging for mercy.

If I only touch the hem of his garment, one woman thought,
could I bear the look on his face when he wheels around?


Annie's Mom said...


Crimson Rambler said...

isn't that lovely? I know where the Star Market is, too. Used to shop there. Never saw Jesus, to the best of my knowledge, but once I saw Julia Child....

Diane M. Roth said...

Wow. indeed. So where is the Star Market?

And who is this poet?

Auntie Knickers said...

Boston area -- I used to shop there too on occasion. Don't know the poet but will certainly be looking for more.

John Brough said...

Completely unrelated, but a friend of mine was the soloist at an RC wedding last weekend... the first reader got up and announced that she was going to read "A letter from St. Paul to the Chrysanthemums". How does that one go "Love is patient and kind - and helps your flowers grow"

go to Church much?

Psalmist said...

Wow (hushed awe kind) re: Star Market.

Wow (she said WHAT?? kind) re: Epistle to the Chrysanthemums.

Still laughing at the latter, even while feeling gut-punched by the former.

Crimson Rambler said...

The Star Market is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, north of the Yard. I don't know anything of this poet other than this poem, but I'm looking for more!