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All of us are assigned one sandwich
for the rest of our lives – chicken salad,
pastrami on rye, honey ham, pork brisket,

even mayonnaise on bread, are randomly
picked by an official without a name, who
carries a delicious steak melt for himself. 

We watch a prismatic aquarium that holds
the meal selections, paper fish stirred
by a meaty hand smeared with bloody

condiments.  Our bait is our hope.
It floats a little above our watery eyes,
just enough to make us think we’ve

caught a roast beef or a triple decker,
before it sinks into the refrigerator,
hands us potted meat on Wonder Bread

worms mixed with peanut butter and jelly.
We eat what we’re given and don’t like it.
Under dry stunted trees we pretend to

enjoy picnics, smile at Frisbees slicing
into friends’ heads.  Dogs dig out bones
of parents and the last crumbs they tasted.

Playgrounds are built atop their graves
by workers who feed on their gristle.
Their children sting the air with honey.


by Donald Illich

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