Brent Pallas The 2River View, 9.1 (Fall 2004)
Corned Beef

It was a little lunch that spring
beneath the trees in the backyard
and at first she pretended not to notice
the sandwiches everyone had ordered
especially his. Hers was little more
than bread, than the oatmeal
she made for the two of them
every morning for years even with
his medicine something simple was best.

But now she knew he was tired.
Yesterday he left a book off its shelf.
He never did that. And last night
she cleared the table after dinner by herself.
And now what was he thinking?
His hands almost too weak to hold
that enormous corned beef sandwich
dripping with mustard as if it was
all he ever wanted.

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