WHILE IT LASTS
There was a great read in last Sunday's New York Times
Sports section, a part of my weekly delivery here at the
Odd Fellows I usually do not pour over for I am not a
sport fan. But in looking through the sheaf, I could not miss
the front full page of the usually ignored sports section.
The picture was of a jockey on his race horse at Golden
Gate Fields racetrack. Where but in the Times might
an eager reader find that sort of lengthy devotion to good
journalism? A full page given to a picture of an aged and
successful jockey, speaking, hollering ? into the back-turned ears
of his charging mount. This was a time that I would
dig into the Sports section and see what it was all about.
Nowhere but the Times. They devoted 6 (six) full pages
to this story, with pictures.
At department parties, I eat cheeses
my parents never heard of—gooey
pale cheeses speaking garbled tongues.
I have acquired a taste, yes, and that's
okay, I tell myself. I grew up in a house
shaded by the factory's clank and clamor.
A house built like a square of sixty-four
American Singles, the ones my mother made lunches
With—for the hungry man who disappeared
into that factory, and five hungry kids.
American Singles. Yellow mustard. Day-old
Wonder Bread. Not even Swiss, with its mysterious
holes. We were sparrows and starlings
still learning how the blue jay stole our eggs,
our nest eggs. Sixty-four Singles wrapped in wax—
dig your nails in to separate them.
When I come home, I crave—more than any home
cooking—those thin slices in the fridge. I fold
one in half, drop it in my mouth. My mother
can't understand. Doesn't remember me
being a cheese eater, plain like that.