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