by Julie McCollister

My son and I are walking

along the beach; I am

talking about the waves,

how they curl in on themselves,

boil up with foam.

He asks what’s for supper.

Thinking of bluefish

baptized in lemon juice,

or lobster dipped in butter,

or steamers so succulent

opening their shells with a sigh,

I ask him what he wants. “Spaghetti,”

he says. It would be the same

at any place, any season.

“How about some steamers?”

“Spaghetti,” he says firmly

with a shake of his dark head.

A skein of seaweed

is cast up at our feet.

“It looks like brown spaghetti, Mom”

he says. We walk on.

He notices the beach grass rippling

like a punk haircut in the wind.

“It looks like spaghetti, Mom,”

he says.

A woman passes us, her hair

in thin plaits, beaded; it looks

strangely like dark spaghetti.


Overhead the sun is

waterlogged pasta in the sky.

Just then Karl Marx walks by

a mass of flesh above blue swim trunks

his beard white electric strands.

“In a classless society everyone

will eat spaghetti,” he says, and passes.

I turn to see his corpulent whiteness

moving off.

Pretty soon we are arguing again

about dinner.

“What about a nice lobster,”

I ask ,knowing he’s loved it

since he was a baby, but

he has no pity.


Just then Sigmund Freud jogs by

natty in his beard and baby blue togs.

“What do you think about a child

who will only eat spaghetti?” I ask him.

In a voice as rich as strudel he answers.

“I prefer manicotti myself…”

I turn to watch him run on,

his Adidas flashing

in the light.

“What kind of sauce do you want,”

I ask, as the sun rests red on the water

like a giant meatball in the sky.

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