Feb 28, 2014
The Bridesmaids in the Pantry
Saltines, consumed in 88% of all US households:
Saltines, the tugboats of nutrition, the compass of digestion,
with 12 perforations, they're always breathing.
After a nap on tongues they dissolve like Eucharist,
everybody looking for the crunchy starch salvation.
A lonely serving on the top of anything
for an over caffeinated writer can quickly birth a poem.
In drag they compete: pita chips, potato chips
and you're suddenly the pantry referee.
They can pass for the hall monitors at recess,
or the nice lady janitor quietly mopping the ICU.
Shy ones on the bottom peak behind the cashews,
go look, they've been on the shelf for months.
Commando crackers that head straight for the stomach
wrestling hip hop acids and all fried obsessions.
Their tango with peanut butter, their impersonations of toast,
the chameleon saltines will forever impress.
They are indeed the LIFE JACKETS of consumption !
Always lieutenants, always reliable, always plenty.
I wrote this poem during my MFA school years. The assignment: to consider something common, something known to everyone, something that could be shared in a poem with attention and surprise.
I can't remember why saltines came to mind, at the same time, I had fun imagining all the things a reliable, tried and true saltine could be.