Poetry March 2010

Pharmacy

More

The grass is covered up with a brittle frost,
as the customers line up
at the clapboard house,
under a painted sign of a mortar
and club for crushing powders.

In the bay-window display,
apothecary bottles,
one of the old-fashioned scales
with its outspread pans
like the arms of a crucifix,
jars of Bromo-Seltzer,
folded-up wheelchairs,
a breasted dummy’s mastectomy bra.

Now the door opens with a cattail
of jingles, the vintage cash register
rings up its penny change,
and inside, the coughs and sneezes,
the addicts slumped in their niches
trying to hoodwink the pharmacist
by tapping their counterfeit canes,

and from the aisles, the fishy smell
of vitamins and ointments,
where heavy feet pace
the cracked wooden floor,
wearing a path down to dust,
looking for something.

Judith Harris’s most recent collection is The Bad Secret (2006). She teaches at George Mason University.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In