Baloney on White Bread
Someone passes out sandwiches
wrapped in waxed paper
and I take one.
Thirty of us are crowded into the small room
with a high ceiling, yellowed walls,
no chairs and one drinking fountain.
There are two large, stale pieces of white bread
with a slice of baloney and smears of margarine.
It's morning and I’ve spent the night in the Van Nuys jail.
A stocky Mexican speaks to another in Spanish,
his brown elbow touching my belly.
We all wait for a hearing,
then we’ll be sent to county jail.
I take a bite.
I haven't heard from my father
since I talked to him last night;
Bruce was bailed out immediately.
The margarine has a grainy texture.
We were stoned in the police car,
Bruce in front with one cop,
I in back with another.
One cop stuck our hash pipe in his mouth.
It was my pipe, long and thin with a small bowl.
It had Disney characters on it.
Bruce argued left-wing politics
with his hands cuffed behind his back.
The white bread, mixed with saliva,
flattens and sticks to the roof of my mouth.
We were moved here this morning
in a bus with barred windows, our legs chained together.
Ordinary people could be seen
walking on the sidewalk.
I bend for water.
© 2001 Mark Giffin