Poetry Thursday: Ham sandwich

tasty ham sandwich on a plate in a cafe

On slightly dry white,
it conjures up
foreign lunchrooms
and sour lunchboxes
and the clamped-shut feeling
of a stomach that can’t do its job
for worry of a new place.

Crusts cut off and insides
lightly lined with butter
it brings back Gramma
and days of being well-cared for

from the Honeybaked bone,
wrapped in romaine,
dipped in mustard,
inhaled over the sink,
of being a grownup
for the first time ever:
not well, perhaps,
or elegantly,
but old enough finally
to deny yourself
something good now
against the hope
of something better
down the road.

What for you is my lunch
for me is a portal,
a trip back
to a simpler life
that may or may not
have existed.

What for me is a stab at meaning,
and a clumsy one at that,
put down quickly like packaged ham
on commercial rye,
for you, I hope,
is a thread to worry
(or not)
as you please
toward the root of your own
sweet and sour
and slightly salty past.

At least,
that is how
I present it.


Image by stevendepolo via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.


  1. You so beautifully invoke the way the smallest, most mundane things can be “portals” – what a great image. Yes. Sometimes – often, actually – I am taken aback by these reactions, by the power with which something unexpected, something seemingly trivial, takes me wheeling through memories and thoughts and feelings unexperienced for a long time.
    Thank you.

    1. You’re 100% right, Jackie. SCD-legal ham is almost impossible to come by. I remember on the Listserv there being some discussion of this.

      On the other hand, trace amounts of illegals were allowed here and there as regards smoked pork products: the occasional VERY crispy (non-SCD-legal) bacon. And you can have certain kinds of prosciutto.

      I was mainly using it metaphorically, any of you SCD-ers out there, still fighting the good fight. But I have given myself the ENTIRETY of 2010 to get back on SCD 100%.

      That’s my disclaimer, and I’m stickin’ to it.

  2. I had no idea there was such poetry in a ham sandwich. I just included my Party Ham Sandwiches recipe on my site last night, and then came across this poem today. I think we may be entering into a ham sandwich movement of some sort.

  3. Thank you, all. As noted above, I don’t each much ham anymore, and certainly not the delicious kind of ham sammy in the photo accompanying this post.

    Literally, the phrase “ham sandwich” popped into my head, so I sat down and wrote a poem. That’s how these things work sometimes.

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