No Carts Beyond This Point

No hot drinks in the cup, no pink bouquet of flowers, no
online carts that can’t fill up. For us—these tipcart tumbrel
homes for homeless stuff, these babies belted in, these little
mothers double-checking what’s permitted with the WIC
(tuna for a cat? cheese and mac from Kraft, what’s day-
old isn’t spoiled isn’t dented isn’t marked in red)—
we check out to the cattle grid, the boundary where
the casters telescope the possibilities, that yellow boot
impounding, until the check comes in



Kathleen Hellen is the author of the collection Umberto’s Night, winner of the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Her collection The Only Country was the Color of My Skin is forthcoming in 2018. Nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net, and featured on Poetry Daily, her poems have been awarded the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review. For more on Kathleen go to

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