Stupid Sandwich

By Nathan Anderson

Featured Image: “The Grocer’s Encyclopedia” by an unknown artist

So yeah, we all have these moments that suck
because what they mean
is like a mystery, like the Mariners last year
good a team as any, traded
what’s-his-name, the fat one, for that Puerto Rican dude
with a wicked right arm
and didn’t even make the playoffs.
Anyway, I can see you’re a man of the world like me,
standing here I don’t know how long and still
no damn bus. But like I was saying
we all have these moments and last week
there I was after work, making a stupid sandwich,
the kind of stupid-ass food people like me always make
when I can’t figure out what I’m feeling
and I feel like being true to myself
is about the dumbest thing a man can do,
knowing how easy it is for the truth to mess things up.

So I lie in all the ways I can live with, and I go on
wondering if this shithole I keep falling into
is really my life, my own making, or what
and I put it down there nice and orderly
on the counter: turkey, white bread, mayonnaise—
three things I’d like to think
I’m in control of—and I said, like it was a revelation or something,
just loud enough so I have to hear
myself, feeling a little weird but a little good, too,
because I’m home and hungry, and I said
I’m gonna slice me some cheese
for this bastard like it was the answer
to just about everything and getting all happy on account of some goddamn cheese
turns out I didn’t even have and was like, well, you know,
fuck the cheese, don’t need it anyhow,
I’m goddamn happy just to make a sandwich
and have a job to hate
and see my little girl once a week
after those pricks down at County let me out
and left me worse
than I ever was and now, you know, I just walk around
and want to smash things. And that’s what I did:
Aimed all I had at that tiny
ignorant white bread, slammed my fist down
like a judge—felt so good,
beating that bread like it was my own
dumb face.

Nathan Anderson lives in Marietta, Ohio and is an associate professor at Marietta College, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

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