Post Exchange

Gulity pleasures like lavender soap, good chocolate—
But also shampoo and potato chips in stacked cardboard
towers; squat jars of peanut butter. Whole blocks
of cheddar (no visible sell-by date) that we didn’t realize
until much later, were rations sent by the store owner’s
relatives from overseas. Percale sets divided up and sold
by the piece: pillow slips, flat sheet, fitted sheet. More
division: coffret sets of fragrance, toothpaste packs. Name
brands that rolled off our tongues like candy charms: Brachs,
Hershey’s Kisses; Lucky Strikes, Marlboro Reds; Breck, Hills
Bros., Kraft, Yardley. More rarely: Chanel No. 5, Elizabeth
Arden, English Leather; Johnny Walker, Courvoisier.
Behind bins of local coffee and ubiquitous dry goods, brisk
trade in facing and interfacing with colonial dreams.

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