Winter 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 1 Poetry |

Splitting an Order

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half, maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread, no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky arms steady by placing his forearms firm on the edge of the table and using both hands, the left to hold the sandwich in place, and the right to cut it surely, corner to corner, observing his progress through glasses that moments before he wiped with his napkin, and then to see him lift half onto the extra plate that he asked the server to bring, and then to wait, offering the plate to his wife while she slowly unrolls her napkin and places her spoon, her knife, and her fork in their proper places, then smooths the starched white napkin over her knees and meets his eyes and holds out both old hands to him.

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Ted Kooser served two terms as poet laureate consultant to the Library of Congress, and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his book of poems, Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004.) He is a retired life insurance executive who lives in the country near the village of Garland, Nebraska.

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In November

By Ted Kooser

I like to watch an old man cutting a sandwich in half, maybe an ordinary cold roast beef on whole wheat bread, no pickles or onion, keeping his shaky arms […]

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