the smell of success (20171207)

the entryway to the house
was tiled with black slate flagstones
irregular, rough

i don’t remember
how many times i stubbed a toe on
the stones mortared in place
with sandy grout as wide as a
farmer john sausage
but my big toe remembers
how easily the skin split
how freely the blood flowed out
like an old testament sacrifice

that was some cold shit to sit on
when the weather got cold
or as cold as it could get
in southern california

grandma came over almost
every day of the week
to cook with my mom and eat breakfast
with us every day
and she was old already

i remember sitting on it
when i was still too young to go
to school all day
once after my mom and my grandma
had fried an entire pound of bacon
in a cast iron skillet that
stayed at that house longer than
any of us kids did

i took that plate of bacon
an entire cooked pound
caramelized and crunchy
and a little black because my mother
hated flabby, flaccid bacon
and i don’t know what that says about her
i took that entire plate
and sat my ass down
on the cold slate flagstones
and tried to eat a pound of bacon

i remember cold stone
through corduroy
like ice through crappy gloves
that aren’t rated for the cold
i remember the smoky incense
of that bacon making a sweet savour
unto the lord
a soothing aroma
but i don’t remember them
taking the plate from me
or laughing at how i thought it was all for me
i don’t remember crying about it
though i cried at everything
since i was so sensitive

i can close my eyes
and feel that flagstone
when i sit at my desk
and i can smell that bacon
and the plate
the plate is in my hands
but is empty
without even the shiny raindrops
of grease

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