Dialog Outside the Lakeside Grocery

The grocery had provided him with
boxes of rotten lettuce
He was loading them onto a
yellow pick-up truck
He was a frail white man and
wore a plaid woolen shirt and
frayed dungarees
I was sitting in a gray chevrolet
“I have eight adult geese and
twenty-six ducks,” he said
and i said
“I’ll bet you have a big management
problem,” and he said
“They’re no trouble at all. My
wife raised two of them in the house.
When she goes near their pen
the geese waddle towards her
and nibble the lettuce out of her
“I'd never think of killing them”
he said
“They keep me out of the bars”

Ishmael Reed, “Dialog Outside the Lakeside Grocery” from New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 1980 by Ishmael Reed. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: New and Collected Poems (Self-published, 1988)