When I drove across the country,
the only place I’d ever stop was McDonald’s.
I could walk in and use the bathroom
and order some cheap decent coffee.
Sometimes I would order food to-go
and sit in my car and eat alone.
I avoided the communion inside.
Their eucharist was somehow not my eucharist;
Although I ate the same bread
and I drank the same sugary wine.
A few years before,
I worked in a resort on the coast of Maine.
My job was to drive to each of the cabins
and build ready-to-set fires for our guests,
as they ate their breakfast in the main lodge.
Each cabin was stocked with old newspapers in a wooden box.
They were mostly browned copies of the New York Times.
I tore the papers into strips,
gathered and fluffed them,
and balled them into efficient starters,
which I placed below the tepee-stacked kindling.
Sometimes I would get distracted and start reading the articles.
I realized I was taking too long.
My coworker was outside by the truck, waiting.
I’d fold articles into the back pocket of my shorts
and save it for later.
There were book reviews.
Op-ed’s and obituaries.
My curiosity has always pulled me into strange, lonely places.
Some of these articles were five years old.
I stacked them in a pile in the bottom drawer of my dresser.
And every evening the staff would come down
and we’d gather and eat our communal meal in the small staff kitchen.
Sometimes I would not want to eat with others,
So I’d go outside and eat on a bench,
hoping to be forgotten in my own small communion.
Sometimes I’d unfold the article I had saved from that day.
I’d start reading
and then someone else would come outside.
And they’d sit around me and talk.
And I folded my article and put it away.
Back to the stack, never to be read.
These days, I get a sandwich at work during my shift.
I go downstairs and eat, alone in the office.
I read about baseball. I almost always read about baseball.
I think about nothing.
I become a small, dour bug,
ingesting nutrition necessary for my survival.
The sandwiches are so big,
that when I started I could only eat half of one.
I’d save the rest for later.
After six months,
I was able to eat the whole thing in one sitting.
Now, I’m still hungry after I eat the sandwich.
I think I can eat two sandwiches.
I think, I have the potential
to eat an infinite number of sandwiches.
I am fairly certain that I eventually could be a roadside attraction.
The gaunt man in a cage who can eat and eat,
and I would pass the sandwiches there,
through the hole they’d cut in the computer chair
with a bucket beneath.
I could be in a cage,
reading about baseball,
thinking about nothing,
all self-awareness eradicated,
pleased and unaware of this fact,
I imagine a man in a top hat with a cane points to me,
this cage, it’s well-decorated.
It has burgundy drapes, a big splashy sign.
The man, he has a bullhorn,
and svelte women in revealing clothes stand next to the cage
presenting my salacious consumption,
while I sit inside,
the 8th wonder of the world,
the Great Trash Can of Brooklyn,
shirtless, without napkins
continually performing my private communion.