Great Plains Food Bank
The wind is in the trees again, and I’m thinking it’s a wonder
the body can move. The way the mother at the Fargo food bank
fingers a can of concentrated juice. The way the line keeps
heaving forward. The way the child tugs the heavy skirt.
My job is to look for the elderly, help them load. Like the guy
who grew up in Oslo and is still trying to make it to Bergen.
It’s a straight shot on the train, he says, but you have to be
in Norway to catch it. I lift his meat and yogurt onto a cart.
I wait as he chooses nine of the least bruised carrots.
The trunk of his car has the smell of dried flowers, and his
baguettes fit lengthwise easily. But before I help him lower
himself into the driver’s seat, and before his hands pass over
one another, turning into the northbound traffic, he tells me
I’m young. Tells me it’s spring. Says I should be out of here,
heading for Bergen. I know he’s right. I know he’s
so goddamn right. I stand as still as I can as he leaves.
Reprinted from The Low Passions by Anders Carlson-Wee. Copyright (c) 2019 by Anders Carlson-Wee. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.