Found Poetry: The Sandwich


I was reading Kat’s blog earlier and amongst some other nice (and rather poetic) observations, she mentioned going with Erik, her boyfriend, to the tidepools with a couple of sandwiches. So I got to thinking about sandwiches. The poetry of sandwiches. The word “sandwich” itself is a real – forgive me – mouthful. It requires a lot of lip-smacking and tongue movement. “Sandwich” seems to get your mouth moving and your appetite revved up.

The sandwich is a major food technology. Think about it. Is there no more perfect way to get food into your mouth as a sandwich? First, you’ve got the bread. For many, bread is just the sandwich receptacle, the medium for the food. But done right, the bread is nearly a meal itself – think thick sourdough, meaty Germanic pumpernickel (another word loaded with poetry). And within those two slices of goodness, the potential is limitless. The basic American sandwich is highly satisfying: ham/turkey/roast beef, cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles. But wait. Maybe corned beef? Pastrami? Both? Pepperjack, aged gouda? Spinach, baby greens, sauerkraut, sundried tomatoes? Dill, sweet a wedge on the side? Toasted bread and some chunks of avocado and other veggies? Onions (red, white, yellow, sweet)? And we’re still inside the box here. How about tuna salad, egg salad, grilled cheese, PB&J, triple-decker club? And even…the ice cream sandwich.

What I’m saying is, the sandwich is an infinite contraption, suitable for any meal, any time of day. And there’s nothing a poet loves so much as something infinite. And not only is the sandwich infinite, it’s satisfying as hell. Munching through layers of food, crusty bread crusts – few forms of eating feel this good. In poetry, finding something that is both infinite and satisfying is rare indeed, and worthy of praise. Who’s hungry?

Galway Kinnell
James Wright

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