Ketchup

ketchup

Ketchup

 

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?”

“No.”

 

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.

-M.M.

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