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Capitalism by Elaine Fowler Palencia


by Elaine Fowler Palencia

published in Rattle, August 18, 2021

Along the two-lane blacktops

of my childhood we stopped

to buy watermelons.

Mother thumped them,

listening for that deep, ripe sound.

If she hesitated, the farmer

would take out his clasp knife,

cut a square plug for tasting,

offer it on the point of his knife.

She always bought the melon

he’d spoiled for us.

Later, a high school friend

who sold Bibles door-to-door

for spending money, said

he was sent out with these instructions:

“Don’t show them an unwrapped Bible.

Hold up one wrapped in cellophane

and then rip that off.

It obligates them to buy.

They feel like they have no choice.

This works especially well

with the poor.”

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