Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Perfect Sandwich

As a boy I had a very peculiar approach
To the eating of my salami and cheese sandwiches:
Start on the perimeter and suffer through the crust,
Then an inward spiral to the middle.
The goal was to save the thickest, meatiest
Bite for last, to be savored.  
Things were supposed to always get better.
That was the natural progression:
Sadness, suffering, dutiful prep work
And then a flourishing of flavor and satisfaction.
The problem was it always culminated in anti climax;
It never ended the way I hoped.
It wasn’t fair to those pitiful school lunch sandwiches
I had meticulously made myself
Before the school bus came
In those days of want and precarity.
Too much was always riding on the last bite.
And once you swallow, it's just gone.

Years later, after the attainment of sufficient wisdom
I went about constructing the perfect sandwich,
Drawing upon my decades of eating experience.
I referenced chef books and gourmet magazines,
Visited the Italian Deli:
Sliced meats and French cheeses,
Fresh breads from the bakery.
I took my time, layer by layer, like fine masonry.
By the end, it loomed regally upon the plate,
A thick, robust, perfectly distributed
Balance of salami, prosciutto, ham,
Gouda, Camembert, lettuce, onions,
Double-decker slices of rye and pumpernickel,
A dollop of mayo, lightly spritzed with balsamic.

When it was finished I promptly tossed it in the trash.
What are doing, my son asked?
I shrugged my shoulders and wiped down the knives.
You threw away a perfectly good sandwich!
Just hold on a minute, I said,
And proceeded to construct him another,
Just as lovingly, just as mouth watering.
I pushed the plate toward him and watched him eat.
He must have been ravenous
As he plowed right through it in 5 minutes.
The best bites (by my reckoning) went down
The gullet about half way through.
(Oh the joy of watching un-strategic ingestion)
You see, I said, there never was a sandwich.


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