Self-checkout – a poem by Karen Bjork Kubin


Turns out you can leave pretty much anything behind,
even the things you’d never forget,
even the highlights, like
that plastic tub of divinity
you found at the back of the shelf—
the last one.
That, too, can be left at checkout.

Or maybe you left it in the makeup aisle
while pondering the many ways
you could offer yourself, shining,
to the world,
or else in produce,
while you inspected
that bag of mandarin oranges,

trying to determine their real color
underneath the bright netting.
Maybe you forgot it
while picking up print cartridges,
cursing the way they set words into the world
so stingily,
and with utter carelessness.

More likely, though,
you paid for your divinity in full,
bagged it neatly
with your own two hands
and then set it down, distracted,
forgetful of the sweetness


A violinist by training, Karen Bjork Kubin has been exploring the tensions and connections between music and language for as long as she can remember. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Spillway, Whale Road Review, Rock & Sling, Ruminate, Relief, and How to Pack for Church Camp, among other publications.

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