“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.
[. . .]
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.
[. . .]
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.”
–Lisa Aldin, “Dante Enters the Tenth Circle of Hell: Shoe Shopping for a Toddler”, McSweeney’s, August 18, 2022