Allison Titus

essay on economies of scale



Mid-morning they arrive.


I’m at the grocery fingering


cellophane tucked slick


to the iceberg lettuce.



As the summer school kids trade cigarettes


& sleeping pills down


at the pipeline.



It’s mid-morning & late afternoon &


another day.



First tomatoes ripening


by the fistful.


It’s early July when they arrive


dusty arrive heat stroked


arrive like so many boxes


of catalytic converters



& the day splits open,squeal


& prodded.



Day dragged forth.



When the phone rings & it’s no one.


While I’m waiting for an oil change at the service station.


As daylight wanes & fireflies lamp



the backyard as the heatwave stretches


into a third week & the city’s power


goes out/goes on/flickers again


when the storm comes.



They arrive grimed to cages & truck stuffed to capacity:


delivery distribution problem solved.


Thursday morning & any morning


& daily & weekly


& half-past ten.



This morning on the kill floor


the piglet tried to nuzzle the worker Like a puppy,


the worker says, It happens all the time.



& by then the international flight is canceled


& by then the library books are overdue


& by then the new pop songs have replaced the new pop songs


& by then like two ships passing


& by then the petition has been circulated


& by then the signatures pending


& by then we are all dolled up


& by then we have gone dancing


& by then the raffle’s ended & a man has won the Sebring


& by then the GDP


& by then the private-sector benefits


& by then per capita


& by then the joke doesn’t land


& by then dinner’s ready


& by then the season coming on


& by then the committees gathering


& the committees all forming ghost committees


& the TV shows starting up again


ALLISON TITUS is the author of the chapbook Instructions From the Narwhal, the book of poems Sum of Every Lost Ship, and the novel The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing To Do With Fire. She was awarded a poetry fellowship from the NEA, and new poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, A Public Space, and Black Warrior Review.