Gerard Sarnat

Sally Swinggood’s

With 1335 stores in the US alone,
the grocery chain appears to have set an upward looking
policy of equality in gender-hiring
which maybe is reflected in my statistically insignificant
sample size of a passel of 5 tall
clerks seeming to identify as She who are able to reach
the previously unreachable top
shelf to grab me a handful of packets of transfat popcorn.


High School

She tries to boysex
gay away — but it don’t work
— so then avoids them.


Not a Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms.?

Then Mx.-match fluid
trans, a or non-conforming
gender honorifics.



Shame On Us

I slipped a big bill
into her cart. She opened
both eyes, said nada.



Doctors use Crab as
Cancer shorthand — avoid death
talk and a syllable.


Velvet Diagnostician

The woman who has slept in the same bed with me nearly a half-century
always said my stable disposition was reflected 
in a so-boringly unwavering bland diet  
                  which existed until recently when she voiced concerns
that her spouse’s sudden yen for extravagant new tastes such as frog legs 
in Szechuan sauce sweet & sour quail-drop soup 
is a forme fruste for emerging dementia.



At first I thought Perfect Day
referred to one of those cute Lou Reed tunes

but then realized a grandson
is turned on to yet another Laurel and Hardy

movie that followed up Babes
in Toyland which was my favorite as a boy.

Middle boring Ell with pearls —
about how the dumb shrimp’d been Charlie

Chaplin’s understudy before
he wrote or directed sweet classic slapsticks

plus sour poignancy 2 months
after the box office hit comedy got released

1929’s Great Depression began
putting a helluva damper on going to theaters

— 8 year-old made desperation
moves to escape by driving his fam’s Subaru

over to ex-great grandma Rhoda’s
condo where I spent this week fumbling

with segregating almost 103 years’
belongings into Keep/Donate/Sell/Junk piles.

Elliot played with toys in her condo
once more knowing soon as we’d emptied out

the stuff and had it spruced a bit
some new people’ll pay to obtain ownership.

Moi not much into commodities –
a couple of pairs of jeans maybe each decade

Mazda perhaps every 15-20 years
— plenty irony I am stuck having to decide

among these mountains of couches,
lamps, simple sturdy tables, rugs; who lives

or in actuality dies next since charity
of choice rejected as too dilapidated to take.

Estate appraisers condescend Mom’s
crystal is way outdated/ surprisingly cheap:

even adding the minimal good silver
to the predominantly silver-plated ware

wouldn’t reach his commission floor
in order to hold a proper sale blahblahblah.

I did manage to engage my good wife
in near fisticuffs because I really wanted

to keep Mommy’s fragile wood china
cabinet where fond memories are housed.

…When her mom died, she tried to eliminate
all recollections, some of which paintings

plus furniture my partner later wanted back
from where I had squirreled them away…

Out of character, I cajoled — at times
pleaded — with our children to pleaseplease

find room for artwork, Pops’ silly hats
or whatever strikes their fancy to remind us.

I foisted on either older grandkids
a porcelain Confucius and Steuben piggies

to remember my parents although
inside I hoped possibly such might mean me.


Gerard SarnatGerard Sarnat is the prize-winning author of four collections plus work that’s been published in magazines and anthologies including Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, and New Delta Review. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry has worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO of healthcare organizations and a Stanford Medical School professor. Married since 1969, he has three children and four grandkids. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, & interviews; visit