Canto 34

Midway upon the journey of my life
I found myself within a shoe aisle in Target,
For the toddler’s sparkle unicorn shoes had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this shoe aisle savage, rough, and smelly,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more;
Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
I cannot well repeat how there I entered,
So full was I of slumber at the moment
Because my toddler had kept me up all evening
And the caffeine from my morning coffee had yet to kick in
But after I had reached Target’s parking lot,
At that point where the toddler awoke,
Which had with consternation pierced my heart,
Upward I looked, and I beheld the red Target sign,
Aglow with beauty and promise
Which leadeth others right by every sale and cute purse.
Then was the fear a little quieted
That in my heart’s lake had endured throughout
The night, which I had spent rocking my toddler to sleep while
watching a True Crime documentary on Netflix.
I entered, so did my soul, that still was extremely sleep-deprived,
Turn itself back to behold the sparkling white tile
And the inflatable Target dog hanging from the ceiling
The way resumed my journey away from
The dollar bins and past the toy aisle,
Which never yet a living person left.
And lo! almost where a tantrum began,
My toddler spotted the stuffed animals,
After I hauled ass and made some airplane noises,
Steering the cart away from a stuffed panther with wild abandon,
My toddler’s lower lip ceased to tremble.
At which we arrived at the shoe aisle,
My eyes glazed over empty and overturned shoe boxes,
Tossed about, sizes mixed up, laces untied, a discarded,
spit-covered pacifier amongst the ruin
Behold! Another mother light and swift exceedingly,
Which with a weary look in her eye!
The time was the beginning of the morning,
And up the sun was mounting with those stars
And ever she sighed and gave me a look of understanding
As I searched for anything with a unicorn on it
But not so much, I saw only Princess and Dinosaur shoes!
There were no unicorn shoes in sight
The hour of a tantrum, and the inevitable tears;
But not so much, that did give me fear
The smell of a poopy in the diaper sifting through the air
It seemed as if against me my toddler were giggling
With head uplifted, unicorn-stamped diaper full, and also with
ravenous hunger,
So that it seemed the air was afraid of her;
And she wanted a snack!
Alas! I had forgotten the snack!
E’en such made me that toddler withouten peace,
Which coming on against me by degrees
While I was rushing downward to the snack aisle
“Have pity on me,” unto her I cried,
“Whiche’er thou art, or I’m super tired, baby!”
She answered me: “Mean Mommy! Pop-Tart!”
Behold the beast, for which I have turned back;
Do thou protect me from the snack aisle, famous Sage,
For she doth make my veins and pulses tremble.