how to make him a sandwich

Begin with bread. Never white: this is what the poor eat, the unrefined, and those who don’t know to read nutritional labels, or how a carb will kill you—or worse, make you ugly and thick through the middle. Surely, you have already listened to him countless times talk about his lust for the panini. You have already helped him sample each one available for pay. None good enough or hot enough—grill lines too black or too shallow. This is a small town. Food is still largely just for eating. So, you begin with bread. Opt for a loaf you find in the grocer’s bakery: focaccia, ciabatta, baguette. It helps if you had parents who did not provide, and you took jobs at markets and cafes where you sliced whole rounds of Boar’s Head turkey and stocked and restocked little stainless-steel tins of mayo and tzatziki. But this part is optional. If you are into irony, let him be diabetic. Learn about the body and how it breaks. Tend his hospital bed when he slips into ketoacidosis, his blood turning to acid before you. Watch him go low, faint, fall, stutter, and stammer. Go high, get dizzy, become irritable. Baby, have you tested today? After selecting your bread, a layer of pesto. You can emulsify for yourself or choose what can be bought in a plastic container. Spread thinly. Next, probably mozzarella. A white, wet round: an imported thing. Two to three slices will do. More, if he’s sad today. Tomato, too, for health and color. Here you can choose what you like: Better Boy, Big Beef, Homestead, Easy Girl, Roma. Basil should be pulled deliberately from its stem. As many leaves as you can stand. Holy, not sweet. As for meat, you’d rather something light, but you know he wants pepperoni, ham, salami, bacon. Gift him a hot press. When it is found subpar, return it. Read consumer reviews. Purchase the best one. Unbox. Plug in. Turn on. When warm, handle what you’ve created with care. Let it crisp and melt. Do not let it burn.

A.R. Rogers has poems published or forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, Blue Literary Magazine, and Permafrost. A recent graduate of Texas State University's MFA program, she now lives and teaches in Austin, Texas, with her dog, Yakona.