exodus from the Dollar Tree
Before I arrive, I am frothing at the thought of the store’s refrigerated aisles,
respite from a heat index that has been tipping the scales for days. Once inside,
bright star-shaped signs announce the week’s specials. It turns out a slim stack of quarters
can net me an off-brand ribeye steak, a five-pack of flea collars,
a tower of party glasses festooned for a bridal shower. Musak floats overhead,
and earthward, the squeaky third wheels of shopping carts and the sounds of plastic
heaped on top of plastic. The shelves are full; the sales slapdash, almost desperate
with appeal. The paper towels look threadbare; the birthday favors, saccharine.
The oasis I’d dreamed up is a glut of frigid cheer.
Whatever I wanted, it turns out, was never here.