Saltine

by Michael McFee

How well its square
fit my palm, my mouth,
a toasty wafer slipped
onto the sick tongue
or into chicken soup,

each crisp saltine a tile
pierced with 13 holes
in rows of 3 and 2,
its edges perforated
like a postage stamp,

one of a shifting stack
sealed in wax paper
whose noisy opening
always signaled snack,
peanut butter or cheese

thick inside Premiums,
the closest we ever got
to serving hors d’oeuvres:
the redneck’s hardtack,
the cracker’s cracker.


About the Author:

Michael McFee is an American poet who lives in North Carolina.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2012 by Michael McFee from his most recent book of poems That Was Oasis, Carnegie Mellon Univ. Press, 2012. First printed in Threepenny Review #107, Vol. 27, no. 3, (Fall 2006). Poem reprinted by permission of Michael McFee and the publisher.