By: Courtney Beck
“You’re so vain,” sings the Mama amidst the produce.
“You probably think this song is about you,”
she insists, in perfect pitch, inspecting an orange.
Her children clamor behind her
For candy and toys and trinkets
They are sure will satisfy,
But Mama has turned the energy she can muster
To the colors of the fruit at her waist.
She sings her song with rising power,
Drowning the children’s cries in Simon’s ironic melody.
We, her produce aisle companions,
Smile with our understanding
And carry the tune with us
To the parking lot.
Our paper bags filled
with the apples and pears and bananas
Reminding us, if we’ll allow them,
of what this woman is trying to say:
Don’t postpone joy.
Truly, truly, I must insist.
Suffer the little children and
Pursue the golden fruit of a life
Poured out in the produce aisle,
Received again and again,
in our parking lots,
and at our kitchen tables.
What good do the candy and trinkets and toys do
if we wait?
If we wait, the clamor is all that we have.
If we wait, the children will swarm.
If we wait, we all,
but mostly you,
will miss the song.
And don’t you know this song is about you?
Don’t you know this song is not about you at all?
Well, do you?