Posted on June 24th, 2013
There’s a midnight sidewalk and someone is saying that making food is asking someone to like you, even a small amount. We are cooks and we do this sometimes. This sentence is like being seen. Walking to the car is like pulling all of your clothes on again, in a hurry.
The street lamp is a yolk. And this falls apart when you see the insects lifting towards it, in the light. The night isn’t bread. It is full of smoke, drifting in from some further house. Some unseen cooking fire. But the point is that there aren’t two neat halves wrapping the lamp so that it will fit down the cat-mouth of the evening—the lamp just hangs there. And the moths rise to it, one after another. They’ll burn themselves stupid on that bare bulb. There are crickets, close to the window, making a racket. Behind it, you begin to think that you can hear the tiny hiss of each wing hitting the hot light. Signal-drunk. Season-blind.
Certain sandwiches, and the making of them, are an absolute. The kind of sandwiches that I’m talking about, you don’t complicate. They don’t ask you to be liked by people.
When we were over we were both glad and I thought that it was good that I wasn’t going to spend so much time in the closet, thinking about the things I couldn’t fix while sitting on the pile of our discarded laundry. We went to lunch. We both got a sandwich, and I think it was something that I didn’t usually get because that seemed wrong. We sat there with relief and lettuce. The train went by in the afternoon. The cars will make a long shape, and there’s the same-shaped space behind it, when they go.
There have been sandwiches since then, and their careful construction. Sometimes, you’ll have to leave the apartment. To go to the grocery store. It will be dark in the parking lot. It’s like a call in the middle of the night that asks you to go in and buy things. For an answer, you’ll make a big show out of placing pickles in your basket.
You’ll put water in your glass. More ice and a sliver of lemon. You’ll put mayonnaise on the bread. More meat, and a hot pepper. The neighbor’s dog will bark, and the light will be dim in the kitchen, this space of secrets and assembling. You’ll raise the chips to your mouth again, something agreed to, something forbidden.
And if this sandwich ends, if it’s over, you’ll wait awhile, and then there will be another. Soon enough. What you like about sandwiches, aside from their edibility, are their facts. They’ll be done but they come back pretty easily. Parts you can assemble. No mystery craft tripping you up with a strange language. You don’t have a hard time building them. You’re older. You’re wiser. You can take a joke. Even when it’s hard to keep things in focus.
And when it’s gone, you’ll hear the plate being clean. You’ll hear every plate on the goddamn block. The empty sound they are all making, not a knife moving. Not even when the light goes out, leaving the whole street dark.