The slim, suntanned legs
of the woman in front of me in the checkout line
fill me with yearning
to provide her with health insurance
and a sporty little car with personalized plates.
The way her dark hair
falls straight to her slender waist
makes me ache
to pay for a washer/dryer combo
and yearly ski trips to Aspen, not to mention
her weekly visits to the spa
and nail salon.
And the delicate rise of her breasts
under her thin blouse
kindles my desire
to purchase a blue minivan with a car seat,
and soon another car seat, and eventually
piano lessons and braces
for two teenage girls who will hate me.
Finally, her full, pouting lips
make me long to take out a second mortgage
in order to put both kids through college
at first- or second-tier institutions,
then cover their wedding expenses
and help out financially with the grandchildren
as generously as possible before I die
and leave them everything.
But now the cashier rings her up
and she walks out of my life forever,
leaving me alone
with my beer and toilet paper and frozen pizzas.
George Bilgere’s most recent book of poems is The White Museum, chosen by Alicia Ostriker for the 2010 Autumn House Poetry Series. He received a Pushcart Prize in 2009 and won the May Swenson Poetry Award in 2006 for Haywire (Utah State University Press). His poems are heard frequently on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, and he has appeared as a guest on A Prairie Home Companion. He teaches at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. “Desire” is printed by permission of the author.