Inside Every Vending Machine It’s 1979
by Mary Biddinger
There’s no such thing as nostalgia
for artificial wood grain, especially when the color
mimics a wet pig yard in April. Nevertheless
we’re trapped in an elevator, and the rug
is missing, and the walls are meant to imitate
the basements we all had and loved.
Some jackass shoved a vending machine
in here: a coin-operated elevator, with more
seductive ways of removing passengers.
Nothing left for sale but algae-green mints.
If only it had been the soda machine
that dropped its solitary paper cup, shuddered
its ounces with everyone as witness.
It’s one box of wood grain inside another, and I
almost want to look down my shirt to verify
that it hasn’t gotten to me. I’m not stocked
with anybody’s marzipan octopus. Everything
is looking for a way out, or a way back in.