Food Talk, Poetry
Comment 1

my harlem lunch hour

slabs of seedless watermelon
lush pink and bright yellow next door

i’ve never had the yellow but i want yellow i want
something close to sun

heirloom tomatoes all the way from his garden in Jersey
sit on storefront windowsills sunning til a red he is fond of blooms

to then be chopped along with cucumbers and parsley
a salad sold for simple souls at a shop called 7 Grains

i order my usual no matter how hot of a day it is
split pea unlike any other split pea with it’s
ham-less, Moroccan flare.
he takes out a bottle of all natural soy sauce and
taps it over your legumes tap tap tap 3 times exactly.
“we don’t use salt here.” but they sure use spice.
i taste cumin. cayenne. garlic. paprika. “do you want
a spoonful of brown rice with that?” yes.
and then a final finishing tap of cayenne before
it gets it’s lid and i hand over $4.50.


back at work, i asked my boss’ son what he’s having for lunch.
it’s become a ritual, before sharpening pencils and binding books
and sorting papers and making calls,
i must know what everyone is eating.

“marco polo,” he says.
the name of a sandwich that was
poorly selected for him to choose from on
a menu with 20-something other poorly-named sandwiches.
no, what is in your sandwich?
he doesn’t know he says with a shrug.
i place the lid back on my split pea and push it aside.
i tell him to take a big bite, chew slowly, and name what you can taste.

after a long moment, eyelids fly open and he names
turkey?–no, chicken.
he’s smiling as he stares deeply between two slices of Italian bread and says,

“marco polo, are they serious?”

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