Old Man With Cracker

In a booth in a corner of a diner beside a woman

with smooth skin an old man sat with a cracker

in one hand and a knife tipped with butter

in the other, and he buttered that cracker from

north to south and east to west and all points in

between and though he seemed to listen to the

woman while she talked and pushed things around

on her plate, it was clear he was preoccupied

as he worked the butter into every dimple,

enveloping each grain of salt in a creamy

coat so that the cracker nearly groaned with desire for

consummation, methodically working ever-outward

’til he reached the edge and stopped, his thoughts

drifting perhaps to a time when sailors lived with the

fear of sailing over the brink so their ships plied the

bounding main of sky and nothing more, and what

sort of shout would the good mates give to signal

the need to come about, as though ‘man overboard’

could be expanded to include an entire vessel gone

past the boundary of of the sea, but then, half-smiling,

he considered that if the cracker was the earth

and the earth wasn’t flat after all,

he was going to need a whole lot more butter.

 

© dana hughes 4.16.14

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