There is nothing aggressive in a submarine sandwich.

Just provolone, lettuce, turkey, and tomatoes.

Mustard and mayonnaise.

That’s how Mom makes them.


I heft the small battleship of a sandwich

and sink my kindergarten teeth shut

around its hull.


This is not a submarine sandwich—

This is a stale sea-sponge.

And it drops back to my plate.


“Mom. Did you put ketchup on my sandwich?”



The electro-magnetic taste of blood

tempts my tongue to investigate,

but Mom is already on scene,

picking up a ruddy pearl from my plate.


“Here. Take this paper towel,

you silly, little jack-o-lantern.”


She grins.


I smile like Swiss cheese

as Mom fills a glass with water

to rinse off my first escaped incisor.



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