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Blue Ribbon Tomato Soup

This is dinner: tomato soup

with black pepper and garlic salt,

a grilled cheese buttered

on both sides,

charred in the skillet on the stove.

He serves his brother and sister this meal

with napkins and plasticware.

They say grace.

Their parents are working.

Parents work.

The meal is superb.

He gets a wink and a high-five, turns off

the stove eye—

sometimes he forgets.

He is a chef at any restaurant imaginable:

Cracker Barrel, Country Kitchen,

the coffee shop on US 78,

just before the peanut shack

in Carbon Hill.

His brother and sister agree.

They say he ought to enter the county fair.

Drape a cloth over his arm

when he serves.

They remind him not to speak about how

food stamps paid for this meal.

They talk about the neighbors up the hill,

the expiration date on the milk jug.

from BangaloreFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Kerry James Evans
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Kerry James Evans Poems

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