Photo courtesy of Shelly Bergerhouse Merriam

The Beautiful Sandwich
Shelly Bergerhouse Merriam 
February 19, 2021
Glenwood Springs

She could always make
the most beautiful sandwich.
A loving memory
of her Emporia, Kansas college years
and lunch with her Alpha Sigma sisters.

A block of cheddar cheese shredded
on her mother’s tin grater
bent from decades of use,
As was her finger
slammed in the car door
after safely securing us inside.
I remember her cry.

Red pimento, the amount debatable.
Never ‘too much’ for her.
All blended with Real Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
and her metal, paddle spreader with
Bakelite plastic handle,
a 1939 wedding gift.

She piled the sharp and sweet cheese mixture high
on country white bread
and spread it with an artist’s flair
from her art major schooling.

She cut the sandwich on the diagonal
the extravagant 15 cent way.
Lunchroom ladies cut
peanut butter sandwiches
with a 10 cent
slice down the middle.

She placed the sandwich open
gently angled
on a Blue Willow china plate 
revealing the exotic story of
an angry Asian father pursuing his daughter
who is eloping with a commoner.

The couple escapes across the plate
over an arched bridge,
and sail to a cottage on an island
in the upper left corner.

Her father was about to have them killed
when the Gods transform the couple 
into two beautiful white turtle doves
above the sandwich.

Mother, a young bride
living unhappily 
near her critical in-laws
in Emporia, Kansas

Many moons ago…

Collected her Blue Willow china,
cheese grater, Bakelite spreader
and infant daughter

Insisting they move far away
to save their marriage.

I was born in Wichita, Kansas 
into a happier home
far enough.

Dark Dead of Night
By Melissa Sidelinger

 What is it?

About the touch of your skin
Or the smell of your hair
The taste of your lips 

At 10 minutes to midnight
When the world is dark and cold

And all there is left
Is the two of us
And this bed and these blankets

The only two souls left in the world.

I could disappear forever
In the warmth of your embrace
The comfort of your arms

The strength of your body
Pressed against mine
In the dark dead of night.