Santee Frazier

Eating Against a Wall

She rolled out the bamboo mat
near a brick wall
as her husband hoisted
a gallon milk jug to his lips
to gulp down water.
Then with their lank arms draped
over their raised knees—
chopsticks in one hand, cool-whip bowl in the other,
heads slumped—
they tugged
at clumps of noodles,
slurping them up.
Though I didn’t think of it then,
it was the first
time I’d seen someone eat with sticks.
I peered out from my seat on the bus
thinking that eating
had never been so
that somehow we all end up here,

Santee Frazier
“Eating Against a Wall ” appears in Dark Thirty (University of Arizona Press, 2009).