A Zabar’s Story
By Annmarie Lockhart
Janice eyed the rugelach; Arthur headed for the pastrami. They bumped elbows. She noticed the list in his right hand and wondered: What kind of man does the shopping? She raised her right eyebrow and he guessed: A sweet tooth doesn’t always temper a sour disposition. She turned and tapped her fingers on the pastry case. He turned and shook out his list.
They met again at the checkout. Arthur didn’t smile, but waved her ahead of him with a sweep of his arm. An elderly woman in front of them dropped a bag of figs and Janice bent to retrieve them. Arthur noticed her lovely legs. He watched her pat Bubbe’s hand. They both saw the tattoo edge out from under the lady’s voile sleeve. Arthur carried Bubbe’s bags to the waiting taxi and paid the driver in advance. Janice turned hard eyes on impatient shoppers who veered off for other registers. Arthur returned to a waiting orange and white bag, already packed, and a shy smile. He invited Janice for coffee.
In between bites of rugelach and sips of a milk-and-sugar-infused brew, Janice and Arthur shared their hopes for a bright future and their fondness for the names the darkness calls up from the past.
We all know she ate the apple.
But here’s what she’s lived with since:
an insatiable desire for that first bite,
over and over again,
the one she took
the worms came along
and spoiled the rest of it.
Bio: Annmarie Lockhart is the founding editor of vox poetica, an online literary salon dedicated to bringing poetry into the everyday. She is also the founder of unbound CONTENT, an independent publisher for a boundless age. A lifelong resident of Bergen County New Jersey, she lives two miles east of the hospital where she was born.